Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Try Your Luck
Born Under a Lucky Moon, by Dana Precious was on my Wishlist of books to read for quite some time...like a year but finally I checked it out from the library to read on my iPad. Isn't it great that we can do that now? I am starting to love that; if only they would carry the newest selections. I digress, this book is definitely worth the wait although I sincerely wish I hadn't waited so long. I just finished it this morning and am still smiling ear to ear.
This book tells the story of Jeannie Thompson, the youngest of 5 children...you know, the one the parents forgot the Pill with. The story alternates between present day where Jeannie is a busy movie ad exec in LA who barely has time to sleep while struggling to keep her job away from conspiring forces, and Jeannie's earlier years when she was younger and lived at home with the whole family in a charming small town in Michigan.
In her current life, Jeannie has all but alienated herself from the entire family by moving across the country and doesn't speak to them often, including the one sister who lives in the same state as her. This is mainly because she's embarrassed of her family and how "things" just seem to happen to them. In fact, she's so embarrassed by them that she refuses to let her almost-fiance, Aidan, even meet them. She's unsure of marriage when he pops the question because she's certain that with her family's track record it will scare Aidan away; it has scared others away and she can't risk that again. Thus we begin the tales of the Thompson family.
Jeannie believes her family is somehow cursed because of all the strange things that seem to happen to them. The author, Precious, takes us on an adventure through Jeannie's family life and does it so brilliantly that you feel like you too are part of the Thompson family. What Jeannie considers back luck, in my mind, are merely all the little trials and tribulations that a large and loving family may go through: a grandmother with possible dementia, a runaway dog, sisters running away to join the military, sisters getting knocked up, or the house catching on fire. The telling of these stories had me captivated and smiling to be honest. The grandmother especially was quite the lil' devil. Can you imagine a grandma running buck naked through town during a parade? Or how about the minister of a small town who has naughty drawings on his desk? I could visually see the scenes in my head and had tears running down my cheeks as I laughed.
Precious also does a fantastic job in building up the characters in this story, at least as far at the family is concerned. By the end, you feel like they're your friends from school that you've known your whole life. Each of the five Thompson kids has their "role" in the family and for the most part they all stick to it. These roles don't, however, always mesh the best when forced together as illustrated throughout different times in the story. Underneath all of their craziness lies a family that truly and deeply loves each other and cares about one another and that is what Jeannie has forgotten. There were parts of Jeannie's story that had me huddled up, wishing and praying, with tears in my eyes. There were parts that simply moved me.
When Aidan, the almost-fiance, has had enough of Jeannie evading his proposal he just leaves. Jeannie is heartbroken and doesn't know what to do. Her work suffers, she finds out he's in Australia on business with an ex, and she's a mess. So what does she do? She goes home of course. We soon understand that everything Jeannie thought she needed to run away from is exactly what she needs to find herself again. When the going got tough, she needed her family more than anything.
In her debut novel, Precious sets quite the
precedent for herself. After reading Born Under a Lucky Moon I am now anxiously awaiting another novel by this very talented writer. (Hear that Dana? Get to typing!! I'm waiting...) I love the way that she carried me through this story like I was really a part of it because that doesn't happen in most books. It takes a special and very unique writer to do that. Clearly, this writer too was born under her own lucky moon.
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