Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
Published July 2014
Source: Netgalley courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.
With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise. From Brooklyn’s beauty parlors to London’s West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.
Before blogging, I read Amy Bloom's Away and really, really did not like it (my Goodreads review). So why did I request a galley of Bloom's latest, Lucky Us? I'm not sure. What I am sure about it how much I enjoyed it. From the opening line, "My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us" to the end I was pulled in to Eva and Iris's stories, particularly Eva's. Because it didn't just end with the fact that her father was married to another woman, it got much worse when Eva's mother walked away from her, leaving her with a man who wouldn't acknowledge her to the world and a sister who didn't know she existed.
From that point, Bloom sets her characters off on a journey from Hollywood, to Brooklyn and Long Island, to London and Germany pulling together a thoroughly modern family (gay, straight, black, white, rich, poor) in a time before such things were acceptable. Readers will have no idea where Bloom is headed with her cast until the end of the novel when it all comes together perfectly. The writing is beautiful without being flowery and Bloom plays with readers' emotions without being manipulative. I was enchanted.