10.30.2014

Review: Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Title: Lucky Us
Author: Amy Bloom
Publication Date: July 29th, 2014
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Pages: 256
ISBN: 1400067243
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
"My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us."

Brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny, Lucky Us introduces us to Eva and Iris. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine through a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life. From Brooklyn's beauty parlors to London's West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat, and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species. 
  





Amy Bloom is the author of "Come to Me," a National Book Award finalist; "A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You," nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; "Love Invents Us"; and "Normal." 

Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Short Stories, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, and many other anthologies here and abroad. 


She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate, and Salon, among other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award. Bloom teaches creative writing at Yale University.

After receiving this book for review, I had heard good things about it on NPR. The reviews for Lucky Us are all over the place, so you may just have to read it yourself to decide what you think about it. It's definitely a unique work, and if you like a lot of dynamic and don't mind some explicit storytelling, then you will enjoy it. One reviewer didn't seem too impressed, and especially did not find the connection between the cover art and the pages that lie behind it. Related or not, the absurdity of a lion and a zebra stacked and balanced on a tight rope was appealing to me, but then again, my phone case looks like this:


Lucky Us is a story of two girls, Eva and Iris, who blindly feel their way through life after emerging from their dysfunctional and abandoned family unit. We are then catapulted into a series of quasi-unrelated events that somehow lead these girls from one experience to the next (and the reader isn't entirely sure how they got there).

Iris is an emerging starlet who carries the potential to be America's next sweetheart. In the hype of Hollywood's glamour, she begins experimenting with her sexuality and the reader suddenly finds themselves in the center of several scandalous sexcapades. Needless to say, this is not a family-friendly book. Iris is betrayed by her fellow starlet and femme-fatale lover and is banished from the limelight forever.

Eva, on the other hand, is the conventional one who lives in Iris' shadow, but she is also the storyteller and gives us a glimpse into the quiet-but-fierce persona of her own. She may not be another pretty face, but she definitely has a strong stomach, and so the reader learns to admire her through her narrative.

This book possesses an exceptional level of realism and artistry that will leave you dazed and charmed all at once. Truly, it's a ripple effect of serial events that keeps the reader's attention because of its unpredictability. It's impossible to guess the ending or what is going to come next, so be prepared to adapt quickly and spend moments wounded and thrilled simultaneously. Because of this, you can't help but feel dynamic attachments to the characters. It's almost comedic how bizarre and jarring it all is.

There are times when the plot seems to be in utter chaos, traveling around in strings weaving out and in between, but in the end they enter twine together to become a masterful design. If you enjoy a story that hybrids historical and modern society, and names its chapters after vintage song titles, then you'll love this book. Not to mention the mystery cover that leaves you both intrigued and scratching your head!