Summer of My Amazing Luck

Summer of My Amazing Luck

A Novel

Book - 2006
Average Rating:
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A Novel by the Governor General's Literary Award--winning author of A Complicated Kindness

Lucy Van Alstyne always thought she'd grow up to become a forest ranger. Instead, at the age of eighteen, she's found herself with quite a different job title: Single Mother on the Dole. As for the father of her nine-month-old son, Dillinger, well...it could be any of number of guys.

At the Have-a-Life housing project-aptly nicknamed Half-a-Life by those who call it home-Lucy meets Lish, a zany and exuberant woman whose idea of fashion is a black beret with a big silver spider brooch stuck on it. Lish is the mother of four daughters, two by a man on welfare himself and twins from a one-week stand with a fire-eating busker who stole her heart-and her wallet.

Living on the dole isn't a walk in the park for Lucy and Lish. Dinner almost always consists of noodles. Transportation means pushing a crappy stroller through the rain. Then there are the condescending welfare agents with their dreaded surprise inspections. And just across the street is Serenity Place, another housing project with which Half-a-Life is engaged in a full-on feud. When the women aren't busy snitching on each other, they're spreading rumours-or plotting elaborate acts of revenge.

In the middle of a mosquito-infested rainy season, Lish and Lucy decide to escape the craziness of Half-A-Life by taking to the road. In a van held together with coat-hangers and electrical tape and crammed to the hilt with kids and toys, they set off to Colorado in search Lish's lost love and the father of her twins. Whether they'll find him is questionable, but the down-and-out adventure helps Lucy realize that this just may be the summer of her amazing luck.

Miriam Toews's debut novel, Summer of My Amazing Luck opens our eyes to a social class rarely captured in fiction. At once hilarious and heartbreaking, it is inhabited by an unforgettable and poignant group of characters. Shortlisted for both the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award and for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, it also earned Miriam the John Hirsch Award for the Most Promising Manitoba Writer.
Publisher: Toronto : Vintage Canada, 2006
ISBN: 9780676978476
0676978479
Branch Call Number: TOE
Characteristics: 220 p. ;,21 cm

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LauraSteinert
May 14, 2015

I cannot imagine the author's envisioned reader. I was a teen mother and I am disgusted at these women who think the state owes them a living so they are free to be worthless, shiftless, and entitled to use their spare time to make money as whores or bootleggers. What is amazing about feeling sorry for your self, stealing from stores? Is the the author's way of teaching girls how to live on the dole/welfare? It is absolutely not for those of us who have worked (up to three jobs at at time) to support our children and set a good example for them and pay taxes to so women who make more money in one night selling homemade beer than the dole gives them in a month.

v
vwruleschick
Oct 06, 2011

Lucy and Lish are certainly an entertaining bunch of single moms who live at Half-a-Life. Follow Lucy as she tries to figure out her baby-daddy, how she feels/deals about her mother's death and trying to bring funny into her life. So much gloom, but has its silver-lining. See where they end up.

v
viggorecords
Dec 08, 2010

another wonderful read

Devin_Library Aug 05, 2009

Before her ascent into the Can-Literary firmament, Miriam Toews produced this unassuming, and damn funny, first novel. The plot is a touch threadbare at times (a single mom in Winnipeg keeps on keepin' on), but the roots of her style -- wry, observational, deadpan -- were already well in place. Prairie lit isn't typically a laugh-a-minute kind of venture -- think angst, ennui and dust storms. But Toews immediately put her mark on the landscape: a touch of pink highlighter on all that prairie wheat.

j
jbeckber
May 18, 2009

Better than the previous two books I have read by Toews. Funny, lighthearted, real.

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