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How Lucky Review: Back-of-Book Description
2022 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel
“A fantastic novel. . . . You are going to like this a lot.”—Stephen King
“What’s more thrilling than a fictional character speaking to us in a voice we haven’t heard before, a voice so authentic and immediate—think Huck Finn, Holden Caulfield, Mattie Ross—that we suspect it must’ve been there all along, that we somehow managed to miss it? Daniel, the protagonist of Will Leitch’s smart, funny, heartbreaking new novel How Lucky, is just such a voice, and I’m not sure it will ever completely leave my head, or that I want it to.”—Richard Russo
For readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Nothing to See Here, a first novel as suspenseful and funny as it is moving, the unforgettable story of a fiercely resilient young man living with a physical disability, and his efforts to solve a mystery unfolding right outside his door.
Daniel leads a rich life in the university town of Athens, Georgia. He’s got a couple close friends, a steady paycheck working for a regional airline, and of course, for a few glorious days each Fall, college football tailgates. He considers himself to be a mostly lucky guy—despite the fact that he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child, one that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair.
Largely confined to his home, Daniel spends the hours he’s not online communicating with irate air travelers observing his neighborhood from his front porch. One young woman passes by so frequently that spotting her out the window has almost become part of his daily routine. Until the day he’s almost sure he sees her being kidnapped…
I discovered this book on Book of The Month. It’s probably not something I would have picked for myself – or even heard about – otherwise. (If you’re looking for a monthly way to hear about new books besides this blog, check out my thoughts on Book of the Month here.)
Anyway – I’m glad I found this book, though I think it did sit on my shelf for a while. But January felt like a good time to pick it up as I was feeling in the mood for something a bit out of my comfort zone. (Yes, January – I’m behind on posting these.)
The main character of How Lucky is a twenty-five-year-old guy with a degenerative disease – SMA. He uses a wheelchair, can barely move, and can’t speak. I gotta say right off the bat – it was interesting and eye-opening to read a story written from the perspective of someone like this. It made me think about how I act around and to, and speak about and to people who are not as able-bodied as myself. That alone is reason enough for you to pick up this book.
Aside from that, it was also a fun-to-read story! Part suspense, part mystery, some humor, and a little thrilling. It’s got it all.
It made me think about how I act around and speak about and to people who are not as able-bodied as myself. That alone is reason enough for you to pick up this book. Aside from that, it was also a fun-to-read story! Part suspense,… Click To Tweet
The author did a great job introducing the characters and they all felt fully formed and well rounded. The dialogue felt smooth and natural, as well as the inner narration of the main character’s voice.
The writing was witty and good overall. There was one really funny line I didn’t include in my favorite quotes – it’s a reference to a recent Supreme Court nomination trial and it was hilarious. Such a funny, subtle reference for people who were aware of it. For people who aren’t, they wouldn’t even notice. But I appreciated it and thought it was a golden opportunity.
There was a rough moment dealing with physical abuse, that might be uncomfortable for some people, but it’s not the main topic by any means.
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Favorite Quotes from How Lucky
“She was trapped once again by another man who wouldn’t listen to her, who wouldn’t even notice that she was trying to talk, until he decided he was finished.”
“Stay kind, kid. No one will see it coming.”
“That happened yesterday. Today is always different than yesterday.”
“We spend too much time, when we are away from our computers, worrying about what we are missing. The answer is almost always Not much.”
“That was the hardest part…harder than anything else, before or after. The grief doesn’t leave. It becomes a part of you. Either you learn to live with it or you die.”
“I have the certainty that I took part in this life. I was an active participant. I did not just sit at my computer and let it all pass me by.”
How Lucky Review: In Conclusion
I really enjoyed How Lucky by Will Leitch! I’m giving it a 3.75. I’m glad I read it and I would definitely recommend it to people. That being said – I do think the end was kind of “convenient” and a little implausible. I wonder if it was almost a bit rushed?
In any case – it’s a short read (only 286 pages) and worth it to step out of your comfort zone and read a book with a main character that’s different from yourself. It would also be great for people who like a little humor in their thrillers/suspense.
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