I met Lucky Joe when I stowed away aboard the Elginshire out of Birmingham, England, in 1901. Joe felt that all his luck came from divine intervention for which he was most grateful and quick to give the glory—and testament. We were both bound for San Francisco, where it was rumored the streets were paved with gold. Shanghaied off the wharf of San Francisco aboard a whaler, however, proved to be a horrendous near death experience side-tracking our prospecting adventure above Sonora, California.
I am Virginia Williams, the granddaughter and editor/publisher of historical author, Patrick John “Stanley McShane” Rose. I published six of his manuscripts. In an effort to market and promote his books, I began a blog called Rosepoint Publishing and currently share reviews of 3-4 books per week with the CE. I welcome review submissions using the Submission Guide on my website. I also submit those reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, and Kobo, as well as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts.
I found this an absorbing and ultimately unforgettable adventure yarn with much to recommend it. The sailors aboard deck with Lucky Joe for the sailing part of their journey (which is much of the book) speak in the vernacular of the times, and it’s colorful to say the least. I have to think back as far as The Color Purple to think of a novel that uses idioms and dialect this effectively. Lucky Joe, as the young lad of sixteen or so, as a character, got under my skin better than the youth in Billy Bud by Hawthorne. The fearless way he faces life and the way his brand of spirituality and faith protect him and keep him in good cheer makes him a role model for us all (including any non-religious types in the audience, for whom his values and infectiously positive attitude translate just fine.) The narrator telling the story has a sly sense of humor all his own, and while not as playful and as unsophisticated as Lucky Joe’s, I found his coping mechanism for dealing with the brutishly hard life in those days, if anything, even more like mine. So I took to him like a kindred spirit.
The tale is somewhat episodic in nature, which is one of the hardest things to pull off. I gave The Road 3 stars for the same reason, and Pulitzer Prize winner or not, I thought I was being generous. Lucky Joe succeeds where the other fails (to my mind, and I may well be in a minority) because the characters (the leads especially, namely the narrator and Lucky Joe) are so entirely absorbing that living life moment by moment with them, which is just how they lived their lives, is an utter joy. And for the adventure loving who don’t want to know what’s around the next corner till they get there, arguably the narrative structure suits the material perfectly. A similar idea propelled Robinson Crusoe, after all; they crash on an island, and then what? They’re struggling on an island to survive for several hundred pages, and this is supposed to sustain my attention? Same idea here. The fact that the book works where others would have had to pull out far more stops to sustain interest testifies to the author’s talents.
The writer is not without many other clever narrative devices at his disposal. The chapter cliffhangers were strong and effective. And the evolving relationship dynamic between Lucky Joe and his friend, telling the story, is right up there with the engine driving some of the best Hollywood movies, which as mediums of fiction go, depends most on the character dynamics either between the leads or between the protagonist and antagonist. Lucky Joe is himself what we’d call a catalyst hero today; he doesn’t change much, but he transforms everyone around him that he comes in contact with for the better.
It’s a shame this title and others by the author became available only posthumously. But I imagine, as with the Robert Luis Stevenson books I continue to enjoy to this day, the author may well enjoy a celebrity, or at least a well-deserved immortality, in print thanks to our electronic age. I for one will be eagerly reading more from him.
This book is a very different read. The language is that of sailors in the early nineteen hundreds, and the story of an era long gone, with the main theme being about keeping the faith regardless of what life throws at you. Lucky Joe follows the adventures of Jimmie, a would-be thug that becomes a stowaway with Lucky Joe, a chance encounter that changes his life for the better. Lucky Joe is fearless, with a faith in God that gets the both of them through many life-threatening crises, and changes the lives of almost everyone they meet. The majority of the novel takes place at sea, with a small part being their adventures in the mountains beyond San Francisco, searching for gold. This book will appeal to anyone looking for an authentic read about whaling, sailoring, and mining, originally written at the turn of the previous century. It will also appeal to anyone for an uplifting story about faith and overcoming adversity. Readers with an understanding of the dialect of sailors during this period will have an easier read, but it won't deter the average reader from enjoying it.
This delightful book was won in a Goodreads giveaway and tells the tale of a chance encounter between Lucky Joe with his endearing and unswerving faith in God and rough and tumble Jimmie as they both stowaway on a whaling ship bound for the high seas.
Lucky Joe is a delightful young character and his happy nature changes the lives of almost everyone he meets. A series of amazing adventures follow and both boys risk life and limb in their adventures at sea and prospecting for gold.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and despite the turn of the century sailor's language I found it an easy read with charming characters.
My grandfather wrote this book back in the late 1920's when he tapped his manuscript out with his two index fingers on an ancient Underwood. Rose (McShane) lived most of this chronicle in 1900/01, culminating with his first excursion into the California Sierra Mountains in his quest for gold. The book sets three parts: He stowed away on the Elginshire to go to San Francisco as he heard the streets were paved with gold. But as he buried himself safely in the dark hold of the ship, discovered he was not alone. Sixteen year old Joe was also in hiding. Stepping off the Elginshire, however, begins Part 2 as both he and Joe are shanghaied onto a whaler surviving the winter of 1901 and eventually returning to San Francisco where they begin Part 3 searching for gold. I love the descriptions of the ships and the fishing, though descriptions of catching and processing the whales can be pretty graphic. Historic whaling account; pretty fascinating read. Recommended for any armchair sailor!