Shirley's Reviews > My New American Life

My New American Life by Francine Prose
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Jun 11, 2012

it was ok
Read from June 06 to 09, 2012

The premise of the story, that of a young Albanian woman working to make her way in a new world, is interesting fodder. The reader becomes acquainted with customs, some of which carry forward in Lula's new home and influence Zeke to an extent, helping him become a more rounded individual under her tutelage. The one thing which Lula struggles with throughout the novel is her penchant for the bad boy. Such a man announces himself on her doorstep as one of three "brothers" to whom she may or may not be distantly related. I could see right away that these men were trouble but just the thought of adventure combined with Lulu's attraction to one of the men, causes her to make some irrational decisions, including hiding a gun, which we find later was loaded, in her home, which is also the home of her employer, Mr. Stanley, and his son.

As the story develops, this character flaw of Lulu's, her leaning towards danger and the mysterious good looking man, takes her on a perilous journey of lies, deceit, and conspiracy. As is so often the case, the reader foresees the peril, but Lulu doesn't. She's just along for the adventure.

I hate giving bad reviews but My New American Life just didn't do it for me. The premise of My New American Life had so much potential for a thrilling mysterious story, but I found it unfulfilling. I'm not sure Lulu learned from her lack of judgment and errors, but it is difficult to empathize with a protagonist who has fantasizes about a shady character. She's attractive and she knows it and seems to think all men she comes in contact with "want" her. Lulu seems to have no moral compass nor real integrity based upon her decisions and actions. Her choices put herself and the family she works for in mortal danger, and it is hard to see past that. Not my favourite this year. Just ok.

Don't take my word for it though, read it for yourself.
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