Cover Image: Lucky Dogs

Lucky Dogs

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Member Reviews


I did take a looky look at this opening line of Lucky Dogs’ synopsis which was the driving force behind me accepting an advanced copy:

The paths of two women on opposite ends of a high-profile sexual abuse scandal set them on a devastating collision course.

And when I was finished I actually took a gander at the author’s notes as well, which is another thing I hardly do. Unless you have lived under a rock for the past five years, you will automatically recognize this story right down to the shaved head . . . .

What I didn’t realize was this was LITERALLY ripped from the headlines and based the “Black Cube Chronicles” piece in The New Yorker by Ronan Farrow.

I was struggling with the heavy-handed writing throughout (this took me a full five days to read and if you know me you know that never happens), but the fact that this was a story already told (and told and retold) in recent past and yet felt sooooooo disjointed and a slog to get through when dealing with such titillating subject matter is just not something that can be ignored.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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I went into this blind. At first I was confused because the first part reads like short stories and then we get the larger narrative in the second half. I loved it, I feel like the characters were developed while still mysterious enough that they kept me wanting more and more of them and the story. The story is so sad surrounding the survivors of war.
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Overwritten story ripped from the headlines and oversaturated as it is. This one feels like an imprint wanted a story to satisfy a certain demand and this is what they ran to press with. DNF
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The novel Lucky Dogs, authored by Helen Schulman, is an engaging and thought-provoking read, suitable for academic and business settings. Schulman presents a compelling portrayal of the challenges women face in their personal lives and the wider society, particularly with regard to misogyny and violence. The narrative follows two female protagonists who, despite their differences, forge a strong bond based on their shared experiences of male violence. Through the characters' experiences, Schulman offers a nuanced exploration of love, betrayal, and survival, leaving the reader questioning the complex realities of the world we live in. The characters are skillfully crafted, and the plot moves at a brisk pace, making the novel difficult to put down. Schulman's writing style is both witty and suspenseful, contributing to an enjoyable and contemplative read. Overall, Lucky Dogs is a poignant and powerful novel that will leave a lasting impression on the reader.
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Immersive, engaging, and very timely. A recommended purchase for collections where thrillers are popular.
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I was initially intrigued when I read that this was loosely based on Rose McGowan and her experience with Weinstein. It starts off very strong, but the stream-of-consciousness style of writing really began to take the steam out of this one for me. I found it hard to concentrate on the story within. This one had a lot of potential but could have benefitted from some tighter editing.
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When a struggling B-list actress speaks out against a powerful, well known producer she has no idea the lengths he will go to in order to discredit her story. Schulman's fictional retelling of a real life #metoo proclamation by an actual Hollywood celebrity is peeling back the layers, answering the question: how could one woman betray another so callously? 

Troubled American actress, Meredith Montgomery, is hiding, disguised in a foreign country hoping the media-heat on her back dies down. One day, Meredith finds herself being hassled by two male tourists when out of a nowhere, an elegant woman with an unidentifiable accent pulls a knife out to defend a fellow woman, and immediately the two bond. Or, do they?

I think this is an incredibly important story to tell -- when researching the actual case this story is spun from I found my blood boiling. That being said, I was really struggling to get through the initial POV switch, and in turn, the rest of the book. I was mostly driven by the need to have answers, knowing it was loosely based on a wild and  true story. The history of Nina is slow going but heartwrenching. Both main characters, actually, are rather difficult to like, and adding empathy into the mix of emotions made things feel so complicated for me. The storytelling ocellated between being incredibly dense to incredible brief, almost frantic. 

I don't regret reading this, despite my struggle to get to the end, but I do wish I had enjoyed it more.
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So the concept of this book was absolutely amazing. Very unique. But the execution fell so flat for me. I just couldn't get connected to anyone in this book which was a shame because it has an insane premise.
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At the surface this is a story about a young actress, victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a powerful Hollywood director…ripped from real life headlines, no doubt. The book starts out with the actress, Meredith, taking a sabbatical of sorts in Paris, trying to escape her scandalous celebrity life. There she meets another woman, seemingly a chance encounter, and they are bonded over a run-in with some ill-behaved men. Then in part two, the story takes such a left turn I had to check to see if my copy was printed incorrectly!! No joke. The synopsis does a great job of just skimming the surface of the plot, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I’m not complaining, I liked the way this all unfolded but it also threw me for a loop. I don’t want to say any more about that, except that it’s very current events (not in a Hollywood way) and to use caution when reading. This story is full of some really awful, real life things. 

That being said, it was a joy to be surprised by something. It’s not a thriller but it gave me a sense of that unexpected twist. Maybe because there’s been no buzz for this book…I feel like I knew really nothing about it. Are readers sleeping on this one? 

Also, the author’s note at the end was great; it connected some dots for me about the storyline here and reminded me about both Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow and She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey, both excellent nonfiction books that inspired this fictional story. (Read those!!)
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I couldn't even get through the first 20% of this book.

Initially, I was intrigued by the voice and storytelling style. But that quickly became tiresome. It felt like lots of pointless rambling that wasn't going anywhere. Honestly, it all began grating on my nerves.

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Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman kicks off with a promising premise. It's a story of two women whose lives intersect on a sultry night in Paris. Both have experienced trauma and male violence, and their chance meeting sparks an intriguing connection.

The book is described as a blend of a thriller and Hollywood satire with a dash of unexpected humor. While the concept is engaging, the execution left me wanting more. The pacing felt a bit slow, and I didn't connect with the characters as deeply as I'd hoped.

That being said, "Lucky Dogs" tackles important themes like trauma, betrayal, and misogyny, which are highly relevant today. It provides a lens into the darker aspects of human relationships, shedding light on the impact of violence and complex betrayals.

In summary, "Lucky Dogs" had the potential to be a compelling story, but it didn't fully deliver for me. However, if you're interested in narratives that explore the intricate facets of human connections and want a thought-provoking read, it might resonate more with you than it did with me.
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This one was a little hard to get through. 

The story was interesting but it was dense, difficult to chisel through and get to the meat of the plot.
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- thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc to review!

- unfortunately, i was disappointed by this book, as i expected more from the description, but ended up with a lackluster story. i really wish that wasn't the case, but here we are.
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Helen Schulman's "Lucky Dogs" is a novel that evokes a wide range of emotions, but it leaves me with mixed feelings overall. I found the description that it was filled with humor but paced as a thriller accurate, and I think it was refreshing to read a book like this one. 

Schulman's writing is undeniably sharp and insightful. She brings the characters to life with vivid descriptions and deep introspection, which allows readers to connect with their struggles and aspirations. The characters themselves are well-crafted, each with their own quirks and vulnerabilities. 

There was just something that I didn't love, and I think it just was trying to do too much. I appreciated the prose and thought it centered around important topics, but I couldn't help myself from skimming some chapters in the end.
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This was not particularly my cup of tea, but I can imagine a lot of people would like this. I'd recommend it if the synopsis sounds good.
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Although this book is fictional it was inspired by the true events of what Harvey Weinstein did to Rose McGowan.  Emotional and witty, a great read that brings awareness to the shit that women have to endure all too often.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I think Lucky Dogs takes a very unique and nuanced approach to the #MeToo movement and how women themselves can sometimes feed into being misogynists themselves. I read on not knowing what to expect and genuinely being surprised by some twists and turns. This isn't a light read, but it's a well done read that feels important.
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I really thought I was going to love this book. Lucky Dogs is loosely inspired by and based on Rose McGowan's experiences with Weinstein and the team of spies he hired to befriend, betray and intimidate her into not publishing her memoir about him. A young actress, Meredith, is on the edge of a breakdown caused by the horrific rape and other sexual assault she suffers from a big wig producer she refers to as The Rug, and her inability to cope with the ways in which the industry and everyone around her has epically failed to protect her. She escapes to Paris to hide in a hotel and write a memoir she plans to expose him with while periodically writing thinly-veiled tweets hinting as much. 

It's a pretty strong start despite the slightly irritating stream-of-consciousness style writing that jingles erratically around in her brain like loose pocket change. Where this book goes fully off the rails for me, though, is in Part Two of a Four Part novel (no chapters, few breaks, good luck) when out of nowhere you're jarringly thrust into a new POV–second person (the worst POV, imo), a man, in the middle of a war watching his wife get raped then thrown out of their home, from there just trying to survive. NOT the book I signed up to read. Yes, it sort of makes sense and somewhat comes together in the end, this is the father of the woman who grows up to be the spy that befriends and betrays Meredith, but this part, the second part, I can see being a place that a lot of people choose to put the book down and never pick it up again. I wish I had. 

But, no, I struggled on through this and then much more pages of tedium and (weirdly) a focus on how this particular woman was as much a villain in the story as the man himself. Which felt, in the end, missing the point of the #metoo movement and just not a narrative I'm interested in following. The other parts are from the POV of Nina, the spy, and then back to Meredith. And I think this would have been a stronger (but still not really for me) book if they just went ahead and scrapped Part Two altogether. Even so, this is a SLOG, and ultimately, has no storytelling payoff worth making it.

If I were you I'd skip it. But, if you don't, I'd truly love to know what you think of it!
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Schulman's writing style and, by extension, "Lucky Dogs" in general could not grab my attention, no matter how important the themes and material are.
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From the opening scene in the ice cream parlor where both of these women are harassed two strangers who form an immediate bond.Definitely based on the # metoo movement not an easy read but kept me turning the pages.#netgalley #luckydogs
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