J-Lynn's Reviews > Looking for Lucy Buick

Looking for Lucy Buick by Rita Murphy
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's review
Feb 02, 08

bookshelves: young-adult-and-adolescent-lit, nyra-2009-books, childrens-lit-chapter-books, realistic-or-urban-kid-and-ya-lit
Recommended for: pre-teens
Read in February, 2008

Looking for Lucy Buick by Rita Murphy—finished 2/1/08 (2008 NYRA)
When Lucretia Sandoni was a baby, she was left in the back of a car with a note attached saying her name was Lucy. Found and raised by five eccentric widower sisters and three of their adult sons, Lucretia’s life was hardly normal. When she turned18, she decided to flee her evil uncles who hoped to marry her off to a shady business associate. Using an explosion at the family warehouse and her assumed death as a cover, she set off on a train ride across the country, using the name of Lucy Buick, to look for her real family. Even though the story deals with an eclectic group of spirits who haunt and guide the young protagonist, her story is fairly predictable. The writing style varies, at times there is an abundance of description, at other times, not enough. And the metaphor of Lucy being a caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly, like the ones she helps her neighbor cultivate, is cliché and never fully developed. Most of the book, the naïve and sheltered Lucy talks about looking for signs to guide her journey but she makes her decisions haphazardly.

Her favorite great aunt, the eccentric Rhodi, materializes as a spirit to point Lucy toward her new family, but not all of the spirit’s actions are clear, like when the dog falls sick after receiving a message from her. Lucy’s quest to find her family is similarly ambiguous. Throughout the book, she talks of finding the Buicks as if her adopted last name was representative of an actual family; some of the character’s thoughts are rather obtuse and she doesn’t admit that she is searching for a symbolic family until the end of the book.

I was frustrated with how dense Lucy’s character was and how, even with Rhodi’s strong hints from the other side, she couldn’t see the oddball family that had grown to care about her. Lucy’s climactic realization that there are people who love her—while lost in a cornfield in the middle of a tornado—seems forced since one of the characters had just told her how important she was before she tempestuously ran off in the middle of a threatening storm. When she does finally recognize her new family for what it is, the book quickly ends.

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