The Good Luck Girl by Kerry Reichs
|The Good Luck Girl by Kerry Reichs|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Fairhead|
|Summary: A journey of discovery by a young woman and her cockatiel; well-written and thought-provoking.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 332||Date: August 2009|
Maeve is, apparently, a flaky and rather materialistic young woman in the USA, who spends money impulsively. She loses track of time when involved in other projects, such as discovering old friends on Facebook, and repeatedly turns up late for her job. She depends on her parents for handouts, meals, and hugs when things go wrong. The book is told from Maeve's perspective, and during the first couple of chapters, I wondered if I was going to have any sympathy for her at all. Her only redeeming feature appears to be her affection for Oliver, her white cockatiel.
Then she decides to take a lengthy trip across the United States to California, to meet one of her long-lost friends and find a more glamorous job. On the way, she plans to visit as many places as possible with unlikely names, taking casual work wherever she can, and camping overnight. Friends help her in this undertaking, and gradually, on her own with Oliver, she starts to become more responsible, albeit in somewhat unusual ways.
As the story progresses, it's clear that there are some painful episodes in Maeve's past, including the loss of a close friend. When her car breaks down in a small town called Unknown she stays rather longer than expected, making new friends and gradually opening up to her past. I thought this part was very well-written, with new revelations worked believably into the plot. Since Maeve is the viewpoint character, her state of mind and heart are transparent to the reader, and I found myself feeling more and more in harmony with her.
The cover of this book shouts 'chick-lit', but I've learned that this oft-despised genre can sometimes contain gems. I could perhaps call it a coming-of-age novel, but that wouldn't be entirely fair; Maeve certainly matures during the course of the story, but there's a great deal more too. Her physical journey mirrors her emotional journey.
When she is forced to stay in the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else, she realises that she cannot keep her past to herself, and nor can she keep running away. She is able to take stock of her life and talents, to think about her future, and to fall in love. Yes, it's also a love story, with plenty of misunderstandings and confusion before the happy couple walk off into the sunset, so to speak.
When she eventually reaches California, Maeve discovers that the glamorous life she expected was just a pipe dream. This is a rather obvious metaphor, perhaps, for the futility of a constant search for pleasure while escaping reality. But because by that stage she has become a believable and likeable person, this apparent cliché works surprisingly well.
I can't say I found this book gripping; it's a light read that I would pick up for half an hour or so before going to sleep, and then forget about until the following evening. It would be ideal to take on holiday, since it's easy to put down at any point, and straightforward enough that it's easy to pick up again. Don't expect anything too deep. And yet, there's a lot more to the book than I had expected when I started it. Definitely worth persevering beyond the early chapters.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending the book.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Good Luck Girl by Kerry Reichs at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Good Luck Girl by Kerry Reichs at Amazon.com.
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