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Lucky Break

3.01  ·  Rating Details ·  535 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
It is their first day at Drama Arts, and the circle of huddled, nervous students are told in no uncertain terms that here, unlike at any other drama school, they will be taught to act. But outside is the real world - a pitiless, alluring place in which each of them in their most fervent dreams, hopes to flourish and excel.
Paperback, 310 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Bloomsbury UK (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jun 22, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have loved Esther Freud’s writing from her very first book. I was working in central London when it was published and I can still remember checking the shelves of the nearest branch of Waterstones every day to see if the paperback edition was out yet. Hideous Kinky: a semi autobiographical account of two young sisters travelling in Morocco with their hippy mother. It had sounded perfect, and oh it was.

Because you see, Esther Freud drew characters simply but oh so clearly, and pulled me into wo
Lucky Break tells the story of a group of drama students. Starting with their first day at the prestigious Drama Arts college, the book follows the group for a period of 14 years - from 1992 to 2006 - and as it does so the focus narrows to three individuals. Nell, who emerges as the protagonist, is an average-looking, uncertain girl who harbours a burning passion to 'make it' but comes up against seemingly relentless barriers; Dan is a talented and determined actor who finds his career options h ...more
Simon Lipson
Apr 11, 2012 Simon Lipson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just horrible. A tale about a bunch of unlikeable drama students whose stories we pick up at some feted drama school (run by the kind of people who exist only in the minds of artistically bankrupt authors) and follow through to various pointless conclusions. The prose is leaden, riddled with antiquated expressions and cliches ('she bit her lip' is Ms Freud's frequently used phrase to describe someone putting their foot in it - where did she get that from, Enid Blyton?; have you ever bitten your ...more
Jul 18, 2011 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2011
I really liked what there was of this book, but I wanted a lot more. I found it was a bit superficial and glancing. The device of switching the focus between the three main characters seemed to prevent any really depth. I also found Nell's rise to fame a little unbelievable, though I suppose such things do happen.

I wanted much more detail about the awful drama school and more of the other characters. I never really felt like I knew any of the characters well enough and so I couldn't really sympa
Mar 17, 2013 Ana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book because of the theme (young actors meet at super intense british theater school) but the author has no idea how to properly build characters we care about. Her pacing is beyond awkward- we leap from time period to time period with little transition. She may be trying to communicate via 'small scenes' but it simply does not hang together as a coherent whole. Some of the characters are just so blank that I could not remember them halfway through the book. A very big ...more
As someone who is both an avid movie fan and a respecter of those people among us who have opted to pursue acting careers, this is a novel I thoroughly enjoyed reading. "Lucky Break" is largely centered around 3 people --- Nell Gilby, Charlotte ("Charlie") Adedayo-Martin, and Dan Linden --- who first met in London during the early 1990s as drama students at Drama Arts, a school headed by Patrick Bowery, who is an exacting taskmaster and holds in his hands the future of his charges. Drama Arts pr ...more
Although I liked it - I didn't love it.
But I did really like these things...
1. the cover!
2. it's beautifully written;
3. it starts off well and brought back vivid memories of the drama students I hung out with when I was at uni. The whole arty, terribly self-conscious, clever-dickiness of them! Bless...but I can say that, as only a real friend would help them learn lines from Ibsen without the aid of alcohol! It also reminded me that the tutors were even more pretentious than the students!
Carly Thompson
I would give this 3.5 stars (maybe closer to 4). This was a highly enjoyable novel about the lives of three young British actors from the mid 1990s, when they meet in drama school, through 2006. Charlie is beautiful (she is biracial) but selfish and narcissistic; Nell is plain and lacks confidence but she is a loyal friend; Dan is ambitious and very talented but a less than perfect husband and father. I especially liked the behind the scenes look at the life of working actors--the tedium, the an ...more
Dec 04, 2011 Edan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book won't light anyone's world on fire, but it does what it does very well--it's a super fun and readable story about struggling actors, in acting school and beyond. Some of the scenes felt obvious to me--their subtext a bit on-the-nose--but I loved reading this every night, and when I wasn't reading it I found myself worrying about these characters and their careers! Being an actor: it's hard!

The end is dumb and cheesy and could have been SO MUCH BETTER. But, again, I got what I paid for,
1 1/2 stars. This book is terrible! It's like an US Weekly that has been turned into a novel about the lamest actors ever. The characters are dull, self-absorbed & trite. I keep hoping Esther Freud wrote this as a joke or maybe intended it to be for middle school girls to read (no offense, middle school girls-I usually like the books you read). Don't waste your time. If you are in the mood for a great book about students, try PREP by Curtis Sittenfeld instead.
Apr 06, 2013 Hanneke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not care at all for this book, its characters or its story. If Esther Freud does not improve, I will stop reading her altogether which is a pity because I liked 'Hideous Kinky' immensely and I had high hopes for her next novels. While most of her successive books were slightly entertaining, this one turned out to be irritating. So sorry, Esther, I was fully prepared to like it!
Literary  Chanteuse
Having at one time chased my own dreams and hoping for my lucky break I could really relate to the characters. In fact I'm sure I've met them at past auditions. It gave a realistic taste of trying to balance between working at your goals and trying to live life. Occasionally they clash.
I read this book for a group and I've quite enjoyed it. Interesting portrait of actors' life with the hopes, worries, disillusionment and luck.
Je tiens tout d’abord à remercier les éditions Albin Michel de m’avoir permis de lire ce livre. je dois avouer que ça n’est pas le genre de livre que je lis habituellement (étant davantage dans l’imaginaire ou les thrillers) mais la 4e de couverture de ce livre étant assez intéressante, j’avais bien envie de découvrir ce livre et je dois avouer que je n’ai pas été déçue. C’était un livre intéressant à lire et en même temps de découvrir ce que peut être la vie d’artiste.

Je ne ferai pas de résumé
Apr 29, 2016 Ape rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
I love Esther Freud's writing. She's one of these people I can sit down and just read the whole book in one sitting without getting tired. Although this book is charting the lives of wannabe actors over ten years, I think there's a lot in here that most people can relate to. All those hopes and false promises of your teens - you just have to study, get that degree or whatever and you'll walk into an amazing job, never have problems, life will work out perfectly la,la,la.... er no. Not just becau ...more
Maria Goodin
There were a few things I liked about this book. I liked the window into the world of actors. That was really interesting, getting a glimpse into the struggles, the anxieties, the uncertainty. I never really thought about what it might be like to be a struggling actor, so that was quite enlightening. Equally, it was interesting to find out what goes on in drama schools. But for me the factual content was probably more interesting than the story itself, which doesn't seem quite right. I found it ...more
Robyn Markow
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2013 Kaisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Lucky Break kertoo joukosta nuoria, joiden unelmana on tulla näyttelijäksi. He tapaavat toisensa päästessään opiskelemaan yhteen Iso-Britannian haastavimpiin draamakorkeakouluihin. Opiskelijat, joilla ei katsota olevan tulevaisuutta menestyvänä näyttelijänä, heitetään armottomasti pellolle. Kirja seuraa kolmen nuoren elämää opiskeluajoista läpi kivikkoisten näyttelijänurien.

Takakannessa luvataan kirjan olevan "extremely funny", "wonderfully entertaining" ja "full of pitch-perfect observation". T
Aug 03, 2012 Em rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this light hearted, episodic novel following the lives of three young people who meet at Drama School and how they're lives and careers intertwine over time.

I thought it was humourous in an obervational way (occasionally going from the sublime to the ridiculous, but I didn't mind!) This is not a book that's inspirational or life changing but I looked forward to reading the next chapter, I wanted to know what each character was up to, how successful they were and how happy.

I can see fr
Jul 15, 2015 Sinara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

The first half of this book was sort of monotonous and difficult to keep up with, which is why I abandoned reading it many months ago. However, I decided to finish it since it was sitting on my shelf and begging me to be done with it, and so I did. Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed the final half of this book as the events started getting more interesting and the cast of characters got narrowed down to three, so it was easier to keep track of who is who, unlike the first half. The book was
Jun 01, 2012 M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How you feel about this book depends on how feel about the plight of out of work actors... For me, it was mildly entertaining, but never seemed to be reaching for any kind of message, or denouement. It was more a series of vignettes about three different characters who have varying degrees of success throughout their careers. Strangely for a novel about the acting profession, there was no drama - unless you count the entire chapter devoted to one of the characters getting three spots. It was an ...more
Moushumi Ghosh
A behind the scenes look at the acting profession. The blood, sweat and tears behind it. Lucky Break follows the lives of drama students at an acting school in England. What I found very real were the relationships: unequal, damaged and vulnerable yet still going strong even after drama school gets over and life starts. It's stark in parts but mostly optimistic since almost all the protagonists come out of their personal dark zones. The pace was fairly good and the characters well-etched. I read ...more
Apr 08, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A perfect book to read at this phase in my career, Freud's book follows the careers of several actors from the same class at the Drama School in London. If this complete work of fiction is to be believed, it confirms a lot of what I was thinking about my future, namely that there will be ups and downs, peaks and valleys, but mostly it's about survival and love. Nothing comes easy to any of these characters in the book, but they all keep cruising along, whether they make it, or did make it and gi ...more
Nov 18, 2011 Morgan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I found it difficult to develop a connection with any of the characters because the story jumped around so much in the beginning. It got more interesting towards the very end as I got to know Nell and Charlie and Dan better but that wasn't until the last quarter of the book. I like Freud's writing style; it was slow at first but got better as I went. I would have liked to know more about the hardships (more information about incidents at school)and the how the actors felt about everything though ...more
Apr 24, 2011 Tara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read Esther Freud's first and most famous novel, Hideous Kinky, when it was published in the early 90s. Her second novel, Peerless Flats, remains a favourite of mine. As time went on, though, my enthusiasm faded. Lucky Break is the first book of Freud's I have read since then. I was attracted by the subject - the reality of life as an actor - and the gorgeous cover. As before, I like Freud's plain, clear style and Lucky Break was a quick, easy read, but I found myself - perhaps unwisely - hank ...more
Oct 10, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this a lot. I liked the style of writing and I liked the glimpse into the world of acting. Each section really came to life, the little details were so well captured. I thought some of the minor characters were especially well drawn.

5 stars not 4 because I felt like I wanted to know more about all the characters at the end which I think is a product of the format. It tells the story of 3 main characters, focusing in on a period each of their lives before moving on. I would have liked a
Oct 31, 2011 Shan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
So much fun to read -- I could easily have gone on for a couple of hundred more pages. The characters have real depth and development, and although the meteoric rise to stardom of one particular character seems a tiny bit far-fetched, you can't help but be thrilled for her. Lucky Break reminded me of one of my very favorite books, The Group, in the way it alternates perspectives and moves through time. Like that book, it's a serious work and yet, somehow, a total blast to read.
Wilde Sky
Aug 31, 2013 Wilde Sky rated it liked it
A number of students go through drama school and enter the acting profession.

Some bits of the story are good, such as the ups and downs of an acting career and people’s obsessions, but overall the plot / characters didn’t grab me and I found the narrative jumping between different characters frustrating.

I gave it a 3 star rating, but I thought it was really a 2.5. However if you have dreams of acting you may find this book worth reading.
Catherine Siemann
Mar 08, 2012 Catherine Siemann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised at the negative reviews for this book; it's vividly written and captures its setting and situation nicely. The narrative jumps around a good deal, but it fits the up-and-down nature of the three main characters' experience as young actors. There were complaints that the characters were shallow, but they are young and, well, theatrical, and their self-involvement seemed par for the course. A quick and enjoyable read (and my spring break treat).
Helen Woods
Mmmm, having loved most of her other books, this one left me a little cold, mostly because I didn't care much for any of the characters. I felt that none were explored as much as I would have liked. the thing I usually like about Freud's writing is her attention to small detail and this book, for me anyway, was lacking the sparkle of her others.
However, I still read it to the end and now eagerly await her next book!
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Esther Freud was born in London in 1963. As a young child she travelled through Morocco with her mother and sister, returning to England aged six where she attended a Rudolf Steiner school in Sussex.

In 1979 she moved to London to study Drama, going on to work as an actress, both in theatre and television, and forming her own company with fellow actress/writer Kitty Aldridge - The Norfolk Broads.
More about Esther Freud...

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