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Lucky Us

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  5,856 ratings  ·  1,022 reviews
"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 fro
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Random House (first published 2014)
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Big Little Lies by Liane MoriartyOne Kick by Chelsea CainHeroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsLock In by John ScalziLucky Us by Amy Bloom
AUGUST 2014 LIBRARY READS (official)
5th out of 52 books — 46 voters
The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. RoseWritten in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana GabaldonA Burnable Book by Bruce HolsingerA King's Ransom by Sharon Kay PenmanThe Queen's Exiles by Barbara Kyle
Historical Fiction 2014
183rd out of 406 books — 2,129 voters

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Community Reviews

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I won Lucky Us for free in a GoodReads giveaway. I received a huge trade paperback with a smartly designed jacket and a beautifully illustrated cover and 238 pages of tightly-packed serifed font.

Much has been made in reviews and in praise of the book's opening lines: "My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us." And they certainly ring with the deliverance of great literary promise. These first sentences of the book are even on the
"Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are; the ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what." - author unknown.

This is the expression I was thinking of when I read this book. And after reading it, I had to let it simmer for a while. Yes, it is one of those books!

Lucky Us is so multidimensional that it will take a while to think it over. There's the moral dilemmas versus the unscripted
Alisha Marie
I thought that Lucky Us started out really intriguing. I love historical fiction and I love books about sister relationships, so I had assumed that I would love this one. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. In fact, I didn't even really like it all that much.

My main issue with Lucky Us was that it seemed somewhat rushed. Rather than have a full-fledged story with a plot, it seems as though this book was just snapshots of a life lived as opposed to a story about a life lived. Now, normally I don't
If I want to learn how to turn a phrase, and fill my life with words and sentences that will make your world spin, I shall to turn to Amy Bloom. If I want to fill my world with characters like Iris and Eva, who may not be the most likeable characters on the block, and yet still get you to continue reading, continue your evaluation of a novel all the way to the end, I shall turn to Amy Bloom. If I want to find a historical novel during the period of the Holocaust, where the world was filled with ...more
So often, avid readers are hooked by the very first lines…or not. Here are Amy Bloom’s first lines: “My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”

How can you resist a book that starts like that? And the good news is, the prose and cadence remain consistently good throughout Lucky Us.

The author of Love Reinvents Us focuses again on the themes of love, reinvention…and also, the families we’re born into and the families we choose. Eva,
This novel looked very promising, highlighting the lives of half-sisters, Eva and Iris, with the backdrop of 1940’s America.

It had started out interesting and I was hoping for more, but it became a mishmash of odd situations. The writing felt disconnected and disheveled. I wasn't sure where the next chapter was going to lead and when I got there it left me confused and sometimes frustrated. The switch of narration between 1st person and 3rd person had me badly in need of a scorecard trying to d
switterbug (Betsey)
The title of Bloom’s latest novel, which takes place between the years of 1939-1949, is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, on the one hand. But, perhaps a backwards glance would reveal some truth behind those words. Lucky to be alive—and what I mean by alive is more than just breathing. These characters fight for their footing--they courageously and sometimes unwittingly climb out of many sad and tragic moments, and use their wits to move forward and carve out a niche for themselves, even if that nich ...more
Diane S.
A wonderful story about sisters, families and dreams, filled with memorable and unique characters.
What makes a family? In this book one person is left, one is stolen, some are just accepted in the family and another returns home and becomes part of the family. Dreams of Hollywood that turn into scandal, a road trip and the making of one sister, the downfall of the other, but after many set backs the true meaning of family wins out.

Entertaining, poignant, a novel that resonates with the reader an
Angela M
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this book .
3.5 stars

This is another coming of age story where the teenage protagonist is already wiser than most of the other characters and becomes the adult who manages to become a good, caring person in spite of her circumstances.
Eva, at 12 years old is left by her mother on her father's doorstep. . His second wife has just died and Eva meets her half sister Iris for the first time. .F
Book Lust

Left on her father's porch at the age of twelve, Eva suddenly finds herself living in the shadow of her half-sister, Iris, though the two love each other dearly. Eva follows Iris to 1940s Hollywood as Iris pursues her dream of being a star. When things there go awry, the girls travel across the country to New York, to start new lives. Iris' beauty and talent continues to overshadow Eva, who only wishes for the family she was never allowed. There is joy and success, but also loss and hea
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have read several books by Amy Bloom, and I think my favorite remains A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You. I think that is because I prefer her writing style in short stories than in full novels, because even in a novel like this one, it's told in pieces.

The story is of two sisters who are two years apart, but don't know about each other until the wife of their father dies. That wife is only the mother of one of the
This book grabbed me in the beginning, but then over time I started to lose interest a little. I kept expecting there to be some moment when everything came together and the characters really revealed themselves to the reader, but that never happened.

I felt like I was looking through a window at the characters the whole time and never really got to know them. In the beginning I developed a dislike of Iris, and that never really left me. I did, however really like Eva. I liked that her innocence
Jul 22, 2014 Abby rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
“My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”

Sometimes an opening hooks you right away and the book delivers on its promise. And sometimes the opening hooks you right away and the book lets you down in the end. I have liked Amy Bloom's fiction and non-fiction. Her writing is fluid and she shows real understanding and compassion for her characters. I heard her speak once and she seemed warm, unpretentious and like someone you wanted
Fiery Jack
Amy Bloom writes gorgeous and precise prose with deeply interesting and surprising characters. I'm going to be thinking about this book for awhile.
The characters were not engaging, the plot (was there one?) was not gripping and overall, I felt that I kept waiting for it to get started. I wouldn't recommend spending your time just rambling around in this story.

2.5 stars

I've been binge watching the PBS series "The Mind of a Chef" lately, the first two seasons of which featuring two celebrated young up-and-coming chefs in the culinary world: David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC and Sean Brock of McCrady's and Husk Restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina. Both chefs' concepts are rooted in their early food experiences growing up (Chang's Korean-American-tinted ramen love, Brock's affinity for down home Rural Virginia southern cooking). Each took t
Betsy Robinson
Lucky Us is the story of a patchworked family: two sisters (by different mothers), their “blithe, inscrutable, crooked father,” and their various acquaintances who become new patchworked families — all manipulating and scheming their way through the 1940s US of A.

This is voluptuous American writing. Like the family, the story is patchworked — the pieces, not necessarily linear, but when put together, they tell a more perfect story than tales that are forced into a tight chronological narrative.
Taryn Pierson
I'm not as smart as I think I am. Sometimes I get a little uppity, thinking I'm this crusty veteran reader who's seen it all and can't be challenged by contemporary lit. I suspect my cocky attitude is the result of my years of teaching. I mean, it was my job to have all the answers. I basically got a degree in how to read and write. For a brief time, my life's work was to disperse my vast knowledge to largely indifferent teens. I was paid $36,000 a year to be right all the time. (How's that for ...more
Amy Bloom is criminally underrated as a writer. I've been having a literary love affair with her since I started reading Where the God of Love Hangs Out when Gray was a newborn and I knew that when he slept I should've been sleeping too, but even still I could not put the book down at all. I stand by that opinion even though this book didn't knock my socks off. Her writing is liquid and gorgeous as always, but the ending seemed forced. I feel like she could've added another twenty pages to expan ...more
“My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”

This is the first line, and from there it only gets better. Eva is left at her father's house without a second glance from mom, and when dad proves not much better she sets off with her half sister Iris to Hollywood while they are both teenagers in 1940s America. Movie stars, orgies, lesbian lovers, a deported war crime husband and deadly fires are only half of the good stuff in this bo
Lydia Presley
LUCKY US by Amy Bloom starts with the following line: ""My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us." Unfortunately, things did not stay with that same level of awesomeness. What I was pitched by the synopsis was a story that involved two sisters stumbling through life together. What I got was two sisters thrown together until something happened that tears them apart and the rest of the story we only really get to see the life of the ...more
Susan Johnson
4.5 stars

The characters in this book are so alive that they seem to walk off the page. They are impossible not to care for and you want to keep turning the pages to find out what will happen to them next. It's a short novel (233 pages) so that's easy to do. Because it's very character driven, there's not much plot. It's just about life and making a family where ever you go.

Eva,12, is dropped off on her father's front porch as her mother drives away. There she is introduced to her older half-s
A great, intriguing book jacket, an intriguing first line, only to be followed by a mishmashed, jumpy story with an abrupt ending.
After the death of her mother, Eva's father takes her to his former wife's house where her older half sister Iris lives. Tired of the dysfunctional home they live in, Iris and Eva set out for Hollywood where Iris knows she will become a star. Nothing seems to turn out well for Iris who invites many of the troubles that befall her. Meanwhile, teenage Eva who is a lot
This book started out promising a tale of two sisters with a scoundrel, charming father. But with the erratic narrative shifts, the ambitious yet flaky writing, and the odd plot twists, I just couldn't like this book.

The girls escape to Hollywood and Iris, the elder, starts getting minor roles in pictures. Then she gets involved in a lesbian love affair with a junior starlet and is run out of town. The make-up artist - Francisco- from the studio pseudo-adopts them, and then the girls' dad shows
Lucky Us is an engaging World War Two-era novel about a girl named Eva. It’s described as a story about two sisters, but it’s not, really - it’s about Eva. Her half-sister, Iris, disappears a few chapters after it’s revealed that she is a lesbian (I’m so disappointed about how that went down).

So, it’s mostly about the younger sister, Eva, as well as a whole bunch of other characters who arrive in Eva’s life but then disappear or die, or occasionally stick around.

The problem with Lucky Us is that
Kathy McC
“My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us." So begins Lucky Us . It was a marvelous opening line and the first couple of chapters set up an interesting premise for a story line. It began with such promise.
But, for me, it fizzled about one-third of the way through. One problem I had with the book was that it seemed somewhat rushed. It read more like an abridged version of a novel, rather than a story with a fully developed plot. T
Sue Smith
Wow - this is some f*k'd up family. But you know, in the end, it's still family and you can't go wrong by that.

I have to admit it was a kind of crazy ride - this family had more going on in it's dynamics than most of us do (or will admit to have going on anyways). In the end you just want things to end up on an even keel and they seem to - such as it is. And I have to admit that I was rooting for them too, even though at the beginning there was quite a lot of WTF going on in my mind. Truth be t
I liked it, but wasn't blown over. The story is compelling and the book flows well; I liked Bloom's style of overlapping the narrative with letters from the missing characters. Ultimately, it just was too neat.

I liked Gus's journey during the war (American in internment camp followed by the American in Germany as a German during WWII perspective followed by Jewish math teacher) as it offered a very different perspective than what one typically encounters. However, I did not think that he should
"He said that if religion was the opiate of the masses, they should demand a better drug." As Michael Cunningham says on the back cover of "Lucky Us," Amy Bloom's sentences ..."should be in a sentence museum." I read a paperback advance reader edition (thanks to Random House) and broke one of my cardinal rules by using a pen to underline her lovely language. Perhaps the story meanders or doesn't end up as well defined or wrap up as some might like, but to me, it's Bloom's writing (and quite apro ...more
Eva and Iris are sisters not unlike Martha and Mary in the bible's New Testament. One is sensible and workaday, heaping onto herself responsibilities she did not create; the other looks for a loftier purpose and struggles to feel anything other than entitle to do whatever she wishes in pursuit of it. We're taught to favor Mary in the biblical account because she is pursuing Christ's wisdom and salvation. But I've always favored Martha. I know what it is to take on what other assume will take car ...more
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What's The Name o...: This book is about a man who has two families and I think the title has something to do with happiness [s] 13 37 Nov 06, 2014 06:54PM  
Little Blue Books 2 41 May 08, 2014 07:00PM  
Casual Readers: Lucky Us 1 26 May 06, 2014 08:41PM  
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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 wri ...more
More about Amy Bloom...
Away A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You Where the God of Love Hangs Out Come to Me Love Invents Us

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“some people bounced back from a train wreck and some people couldn’t get over a bee sting.” 3 likes
“My father quoted everyone, from Shakespeare to Emerson, on the subject of destiny, and then he'd point out that except for the Greeks, everyone agreed: The stars do fuck-all for us; you must make your own way.” 2 likes
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