There are few things more satisfying in this world than reading a really great book – this whole blog is predicated on that fact. In stark relief is the feeling you get when you think you are going to love a book and it turns out to be wholly disappointing.
In the past week, I have had both of these experiences – thankfully, the great book came on the heels of the disappointing one, thus restoring my faith in reading.
I don’t want to talk too much about the book that let me down, mostly because my head is filled with the great book and I want to spend as many words as possible gushing about it until my gushes become redundant. All I’ll say is that it was The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee, it was too long, too wordy, filled with too many hateful characters and had nothing of the beauty that I had expected from a sweeping family drama. Must have been a slow writing year in 2014 when it was short-listed for the Booker.
But enough of the disappointments, let’s talk about the joy and the gem that is Lucky Us by Amy Bloom. The truth is I haven’t even finished it yet, but I can’t stem the gushes and the feels. Lucky Us is set in 1940s America, and is the story of Eva and Iris, half sisters brought together when they are young girls living in Ohio. Disappointed by their families and their lives they abandon small-town Ohio for the bright lights of Los Angeles to follow Iris’s dream of becoming a movie star. From here their lives are filled with memorable characters, with whom they patch together an unconventional sort of family, who are as loyal and complex as any ‘regular’ family unit.
I found Bloom’s writing to be incredibly beautiful and evocative. Lucky Us is one of those quiet novels, similar to Brooklyn or even Gilead (minus the religion), that hooks you in from the beginning and keeps you hooked based on the strength of the writing. Although Eva is essentially the main character, every now and then Bloom deftly takes us into the heads of the surrounding characters, which adds to the richness of this novel.
I am loving every second that I am spending in this world, and the only issue with the book is that, at a mere 234 pages, I fear I will have to leave them all too soon.
I would (and will) recommend this one to anyone and everyone. Happy reading!