Arianna's Reviews > Lucky Us

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
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really liked it
bookshelves: netgalley

Dear Reader,

Bravo, Amy Bloom. Another great novel. I really enjoyed Away several years ago, and had hoped for another great period piece; the author did not disappoint. This time, the story focused on two half-sisters who first meet when they are in their teens, just around the time of the second World War. Iris is flamboyant and always wants to be center stage, while Eva often plays backup to and supports her older sister in her adventures. The girls quickly escape their boring lives in Ohio to flee to Hollywood, where Iris makes it (pretty) big, only to fairly quickly tumble from grace. From that disappointment, the story moves back to New York City, with the girls picking up an entourage which includes Iris' gay stylist, the girls' estranged father, and a pair of spinster hairdresser sisters (among, ultimately, many others). Despite not having much lasting contact with most of the characters, the reader is still able to care for the entire cast, which to my mind takes enormous skill on the part of the author.

The book moved interestingly along; it flipped between Eva's first-person narrative, some epistolary chapters contributed by Iris and Gus (an accused German spy), and some third-person perspectives that allowed the reader to watch some of the secondary characters move through their lives, separately from their relationship with Eva. But Eva really was the main character, despite the backup role she often played to others, in her own life. She was the sister with the heart, the one who attracted people to her with her kindness and caring and love. In her quiet and unassuming way, she was the one who really played the central role in many's lives. I found especially interesting her relationship with Danny, the orphan boy whom Iris and Eva "adopted" by stealing from an asylum. Originally, Danny was intended to be Iris' child, but she easily abandoned him when her own life fell apart, and there again was Eva to pick up the pieces, to be the true backbone of the family. It was interesting to watch the sisters together, and examine their roles.

Some parts of the book I felt digressed from the story and could have probably been cut from the final piece with no loss, but they were interesting sidebars and I suppose they did help to flesh out the characters' lives. Bloom, being originally a short story writer, clearly still has that talent, of sharing whole slices of life in short flashes. But it works well for this book, particularly in the way that it is constructed.

As usual, I look forward to more from Amy Bloom.


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Reading Progress

May 13, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
May 13, 2014 – Shelved
June 24, 2014 – Started Reading
June 24, 2014 – Shelved as: netgalley
July 6, 2014 – Finished Reading

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