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Oh My Stars

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  3,923 ratings  ·  422 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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 19th 2005 by Random House Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.
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
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.
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
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An unusual coming-of-age and on-the-road novel set in the Depression. The characters are a bit trite but the story is fun. As is so often the case for me, the story goes on a bit too long - after the story shifts from on-the-road to and-they-lived-happily-ever-after, I lost interest and the plot became a bit saccharine. Just stop reading at the end of Chapter 26 and it is a better book (I dare you to do this).

I particularly enjoyed the book because one of my daughers who is not a reader sent i
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.
Violet Mathers is a sad young girl whose mother left when she was five, her father never loved her and mistreated her, and she had no friends growing up. She loses her left arm in a factory accident on on 17th birthday and feels like she has had enough with life. Heading off to San Francisco to jump off the golden gate bridge she finds her life changed when she is stranded in North Dakota. Meeting Austin Sykes, the blackest man she has ever seen and Kjel Hedstrom, a handsome charismatic young ma ...more
Joy H.
Added 1/21/10.
3/17/15 - I enjoyed this book by Lorna Landvik, entitled Oh My Stars. I'm so glad that Nina recommended Landvik's books back in January 2010 at my GR group. It certainly took me a long time to get around to reading Lorna Landvik's story. She has a refreshing writing style, filled with droll humor and touching characters. I didn't want the book to end! The character of Violet is so well-drawn. I truly enjoyed getting to know Violet and the interesting cast of characters in the story
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
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
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
This book is one of my favorite novels. It is a rare book for me because I have actually reread it! It's a story about Violet, growing up during the Depression. Violet's mom abandons her and her father beats her; at 16 she loses half her arm in a factory accident. Then the story blooms into a story of hope, traveling with a band, being the band manager. It is a wondrous journey as Violet might say.
I love the premise of the book that you are sitting down in a small town diner with this old woman
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 is the second time I've read this book. After a friend mentioned how much she loved it, I have to admit I didn't remember having read it. However, once I borrowed from the library and started reading, I became engaged right away and while it seemed familiar, I didn't recall how things progressed and enjoyed the story a second time. This is not a phenomenal book - it is a good story, told simply and lovingly. The characters are not complicated, but the relationships within the book can be co ...more
Bridget Conroy
This is my second book by this author and I truly enjoy this author's style of writing. Her style of writing keeps you coming back for more. It shows you what people went through in that time regarding racism. It's hard to read at times but a good book and while I wasn't alive then, I think she did a great job of staying true what was going on during that time. It is really nice to see the main character go from the lowest point in her life and watch it get turned around. The author does this in ...more
Oh, My Stars” is such a life affirming book, showing what an amazing life can grow even out of despair, blood, and neglect. It shows how one person can fill the lives of so many people with a radiance just by letting his or her glow radiate (instead of hiding it under a bushel basket). Other themes: fighting societal rejection, early music history, and small town life. The characters are a little unreal – a little too much stereotype and a little too little actual flesh – but it fits the story v ...more
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
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
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
Feb 24, 2007 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls mostly
Synopsis from

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
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General Discussion 7 9 Oct 12, 2014 12:03PM  
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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 The View from Mount Joy Welcome to the Great Mysterious

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“I am the salt of the earth, and I do not believe in the ninety percent rigmarole that is organized religion. But miracles? Miracles, my friend are a different thing entirely. From what I can see, miracles are built from love, and as far as love is concerned, I am a true believer.” 2 likes
“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.” 2 likes
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