Oh My Stars
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Oh My Stars

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,373 ratings  ·  382 reviews
I am convinced that at birth the cake is already baked. Nurture is the nuts or frosting, but if you’re a spice cake, you’re a spice cake, and nothing is going to change you into an angel food.

Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, an...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 19th 2005 by Random House Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2005)
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What a lovely surprise. I thought Lorna Landvik wrote thin romances, but this story is far from thin. The great depression, the beginnings of rock and roll music, a look at race relations in the twentieth century, sewing skills, all get mixed into this story about family and love and growth. It's absolutely charming.
I'm giving this book a 3 because the characters were complex, colorful, and memorable, and some of the writing really painted a picture for me. Lorna did a good job of making some of the scenes really come alive. The whole concept of a lost soul being saved by complete strangers really captivated me too. I just read some other peoples reviews and noticed that some of you felt the characters were unrealistic. I didn't feel that way at all. Violet Mathers may be a bit unusual, but certainly not un...more
Oh My Stars takes place during the Great Depression of the 1930's. It is a coming of age story about Violet Mathers who believes she is flawed both physically and otherwise.

She becomes part of a band that is spreading a new kind of music.

It was a little slow in parts but you become very attached to the characters and especially Violet, who you want to see succeed.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine Boyer
Jun 10, 2013 Christine Boyer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
Oh my stars, where do I begin? Ms. Landvik - I read your "Housewives eating Bon Bons" book years ago and liked it. What happened?

One of my first impressions was what I saw some other Goodreads readers write: "it seemed unbelievable", "not real". I concur! Though the first few chapters were fairly good with documenting her tough childhood and bad feelings about herself it went sour from there. I always go back to the 3 elements of a story: setting, plot, character. Part of the "not real" feeling...more
Kathleen Hagen
Oh My Stars, by Lorna Landvik, Borrowed from the Library Services for the Blind. Also produced by Books on Tape and narrated by Cassandra Campbell.

Violet had a bleak existence for the first 16 years of her life. Her mother abandoned her and her father when Violet was quite small, and her father paid absolutely no attention to her except to say cruel things. Violet was tall, had a strong face, and was told by her mother and other kids that she was ugly. When she was 16, her father insisted she ge...more
Violet is a one armed, tall, skinny girl who thinks she is ugly. Since she lost her arm in a factory accident, she decides to withdraw her savings from the bank and take a buss trip cross coutry. She plans to jump off the Golden Gate bridge when she gets to California, but a bus wreck changes her plans.

After being taken in by a North Dakota family, she begins to see possibilites. She takes off with the farmer's son and a fellow black passenger. The men start a band, Violet becomes their manager....more
The phrase oh my stars makes me roll my eyes. The sappiness should make me roll my eyes. The way everything falls together for the remaining characters at the end--eye-rolling material, but... oh my god. It must have hit at the right moment because I loved this book. I doubt I'll reread it because there's a chance I'll miss the loveliness next time. It's like a night in a bar. Sometimes those nights are cheap and you can see all the clap-trap and drunkiness. Other nights, it's better than a gard...more
This is another book that I picked because it was Landvik. This was once of my least favorites. The book is narrated by Violet, a girl with a horrible childhood. She loses an arm in an accident, her mother leaves her, and her father doesn't love her. She decides to go to San Francisco to kill herself, but the bus has an accident that derails her plans.

This is when the book turns south for me. Violet meets up with a band and decides to travel with them. And I find the subsequent 200 pages to be...more
Oh my goodness, did I enjoy this book! I liked that music, artistry, and self-expression were the common languages for the unlikely "family" in this story. I liked that the historical backdrop punctuated the trials and tribulations of race, disabilities, and living in such a narrow-minded time. But for me, in the end it was really about the characters-- so real, so flawed, yet so likable. It tugged at my heartstrings so that I cried for their tragedies and cheered for their triumphs. What a love...more
Nov 03, 2008 Liisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Liisa by: My friend Lauri
It was on my second attempt at "Oh My Stars" by Lorna Landvik that I really got into the story and found myself capitvated.

It tells the story of Violet Mathers as she grows up in the Great Depression ~ normally not a book I would flock to! However the characters are charming and keep your attention piqued as you turn the pages.

I fell in love with this story and quickly added other books by Lorna Landvik to my reading shelf!
Ok - I only read this because it was being passed around by friends. I thought, "get it read and get it back", thinking it would be a predictable romance story set in the late 1930's. Boy was I wrong.The story and main character grabbed me and it was hard to put down. Partially told as a rememberence and the rest as real time, it pulls you forward without giving up the surprises you will encounter. I cried at a few spots and hated to say goodbye.
Hannah  Messler
This was sweet! A little more contrived than Elizabeth Berg at her best, but no less than her at her not-best. Which is a big ol' pile of sweetness & light, Berg's not-best, so yeah. Five stars for Miss Landvik! Oh my!
This was an unexpected gem of a book for me.
a nice read - not too heavy.
Frances Levy
This is one of those books I picked up at random from the library's collection of books on CD. From the synopsis, I thought it might be a good read.

In that, I was not disappointed. I found the plot and all the characters totally believable and beautifully drawn. Violet is a psychologically and physically damaged teenager in Kentucky during the Depression who decides that the world will be better off without her. Fate, however, has other plans for her.

Except for the bitchy daughter, Barrett, the...more
Oct 19, 2008 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Mary by: My friend Megan
One of my favorite books, I loved it, loved it, loved it. Maybe I just haven't read enough books, but I feel I read a good many and I enjoyed this one a lot. I am tired to reading the same thing again and again, tired of knowing what the ending is before it happens. Usually I already know how it ends before it even hits the climax, but in this book I was utterly shocked and surprised. Her devotion to Kjel was something I hated, becauce I didn't like him to much, but I didn't like Austin very mu...more
Trust me, this is a compelling story about Depression Era America that will catch your attention quickly and will not let you go! A fictional memoir, this is Violet Mather's story, told by herself, with no attempt at sugar coating. Violet's memories of childhood are heartrendingly sad and her teen years don't get any better, but Violet, as channeled through the folksy story-telling voice of author Lorna Landvik, injects humor and pathos that charms the reader, promising from the very beginning t...more
Lorna Landvik writes books for people who need family, who are lonely, who have lived in North Dakota, and loves a good yarn. She weaves a tale about misfit ugly Violet Mathers who loses her arm at the age of 16 in a freak manufacturing accident. Violet has been deserted by her mother, her father beats her rather than loves her, and her life after her amputation is bleak. She leaves home to kill herself by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge when a happenstance bus accident leaves her in Pearl, N...more
I was somewhat dubious when I saw the cover of this actual book. It looked new, yet like it should have come from my mother's book collection from the 1930s. And of course that was the case - the story had a great writing style that flowed well, despite the main character changing tack between other characters stories now and then as everything fitted very well.

I enjoy strong female characters and Violet is certainly one of them. Through gritty necessity she survives her mother walking out on he...more
Laurel Bradshaw
This had some wonderful bits, but at times I felt like I was slogging in the mud, wondering where I was going. The back and forth between first person and third person telling was a little weird. Despite the tragedies of life, compounded by the Depression, and the prejudice of the times, the author keeps a lighthearted tone which maybe didn't do justice to the issues. It's a story about miracles, and surviving, and even thriving against great odds. It's a feel-good story, but I could have used a...more
Feb 01, 2008 Cynthia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Wonderful plot, characters, theme, and setting.

Set in the 1930's in the Midwest, the book centers around a young girl named Violet. Abandoned by her mother, and when not being ignored was physically abused by her father, Violet still had a sense of humor, was smart, and was extremely talented with drawing and sewing. She was so tall and thin, she was teased by townspeople, kids in school, and her family. She grew up with no love and no confidence, but her talents gave her hope. Then an accident...more
Feb 24, 2007 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls mostly
Synopsis from bestprices.com:

I am convinced that at birth the cake is already baked. Nurture is the nuts or frosting, but if you’re a spice cake, you’re a spice cake, and nothing is going to change you into an angel food.

Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates (“Hey, Olive Oyl, where’s Popeye?”), the lonely girl finds solace i...more
Patricia Fulwiler
I must be missing something about this book, I am into chapter 7, and either because the book is horrible or I am skimming it, but I could not tell you this took place during the depression. I picked the book up to see what it was like during the depression, a 16 year old with a job, where are the people who really need the job. Depression. Then at 16 a job in the factory with dangerous machinery? So far I see another book about a dysfunctional family a father who is an alcoholic. So far all cha...more
I had read another book by Lorna Landvik a few years back, so decided to give this a try when I stumbled upon it in an old, used, bookstore. I was again pleasantly surprised by the writing of Ms. Landvik. The way she unveiled the true colors of each character made me desperate to know what would happen next. The main character, Violet, is a surprising lead in many ways, but I loved her for all the oddities and quirkiness she embodied. Enjoyed this read:)
My rating for this book wavered between 3 and 4 stars, but in the end I boosted it up to 4. This book about seemingly ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations pulled me into it right at the beginning. There were moments, though, where the momentum slowed, but isn't life like that? The plot makes the reader stop and think about life, the choices one has made, and the expected and not-so-expected outcomes that shape our experiences and our existence.

I loved the last lines (which do no...more
'Oh my stars' this was a great book. This is the second book by Lorna Landvik I have read and I really enjoyed both books. Oh My Stars is about an unfortunate girl named Violet. Her mother leaves with a boyfriend when Violet is young. Violet's father is violent and mean to her and never shows her any affection.

While on a bus trip that ends in a crash Violet ends up in North Dakota and stays with the Hedstrom's. Her life quickly picks up once she meets this family, and discovers that there are a...more
Here's my review from Amazon.ca:

I was at the library one day trying to find a few audio books I could listen to while I work out at the gym. I saw "Oh My Stars" and thought to myself, "Okay, this is probably really sappy chick lit, but it could be good. I certainly like to visit that time period."

Am I glad I persuaded myself to give it a try!

This is far from the "stereotypical chick lit" that I though it was going to be.
This was a well-written novel with layers of beautiful prose! All of Land...more
Everytime I read another Lorna Landvik novel it immediately becomes my favourite. I liked the fact that this was departure from the groups of women clustered around a particular place, although the stories of friendship in this one are similar. Now I think that this one really is my favourite. I loved the characters and the journey they make together. Violet is a very engaging charcter with whom it is easy to sympathise, in fact all the characters step right off the page becoming real people. Se...more
Marge S
I don't normally listen to abridged versions but I wanted something light to listen to for the hot days we were having. I don't even know why publishers issue abridged versions. The storyline was noticeably uninterrupted and on one CD the tracks were recorded out of order.

The redeeming value of this audio was the reader, Judith Ivey. She is superb. She provided unique voice along with proper accents to each of the main characters. She brought a wonderful new dimension to Lorna Landvik's strong s...more
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Lorna Landvik is a mother of two and wife of one. She is the author of eight novels, including the best-selling ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS, PATTY JANE'S HOUSE OF CURL and OH MY STARS. Also an
actor and playwright, Lorna has appeared in many stage productions. She is a new and passionate neophyte to the practice of yoga, which is a fine antidote to her long established practice of lounging.
More about Lorna Landvik...
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons Patty Jane's House of Curl The Tall Pine Polka (Ballantine Reader's Circle) The View from Mount Joy Welcome to the Great Mysterious

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“I fear the democratization of plastic surgery, when it's so cheap that everyone - the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker - goes under the knife and winds up looking like these tightly pulled, slightly surprised-looking society and celebrity aliens from Planet Botox. . . . When I was young, I could have bottled up my self-loathing and filled a mile of train cars with it. Now that I'm old, I can't think of anyone I'd rather be than me. . . . That's what we need now: surgeons who can slice away the self-consciousness, the fear, the loneliness, and inject a little hope instead. A little love. Or a doctor who implants only high spirits, penchants for practical jokes, or the ability to cha-cha even to a dirge beat.” 1 likes
“Regarding personality, I am convinced that at birth the cake is already baked. Nurture is the nuts or frosting, but if you're a spice cake you're a spice cake, and nothing is going to change you into an angel food.” 0 likes
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