Lucky Dogs tells the story of a young up and coming starlet that is raped by a wealthy producer and the lengths he took to keep her quiet and discredited. Schulman based this story off of the Harvey Weinstein, that repugnant pig of a man and sorry excuse of a human being, and Rose McGowan story. This is, however, a fictional re-telling of that case.
Did you know that Weinstein hired ex-Israeli soldiers, one a woman no less, to befriend McGowan pretending to be a women's advocate to try and get inside information on not only her but his other accusers to make them look like lunatics. He had spies follow her and tapped her phones. She was literally under his microscope. The fear that must cause.
One has to ask themselves how a woman could willingly aid and abet a rapist. How one woman could do this to another woman and for what? A paycheck.
Schulman peels back another layer by allowing us to see how Nina, the spy in this book, was brought up in a war torn country and the horrors she had faced since childhood. Watching her own mother being raped by her uncle, her father leaving to never return. The bombs, blasts, and gunfire going off all around her. It made her strong, calculating, and very untrusting. Did it make me sympathize with her? No, it did not.
Even our main character, the actress, Meredith Montgomery, could be tough to sympathize with due to a lot of poor decision making but I think it gave us a peak into her mental state and how this truly dismantled her mind, body, and soul. She was not only terrified for her life but rightfully furious. Poor decisions or not, no one deserves this. She will always be the victim.
Being that this is a #MeToo telling politics do creep into the narrative. Some digs were taken at Donald Trump, America's poster boy of misogyny, so if that's a deal breaker for you then skip right along on your merry way.
There are 108 women that have accused Weinstein of either sexual harassment or sexual assault.
Really try and wrap your head around that number. It's mind boggling, truly. This is NOT fake news.
My fury is real. My faith in humanity is shattered. Yet, I remain hopeful that we as humans can and will do better. 4 stars!
Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor for my complimentary copy.
Having read and watched she said, some of the plot points felt familiar/like I was reading something I’d already read, and I didn’t realize until after I started this was loosely based on the HW abuse. Once realizing I was able to enjoy it more! Unlikeable characters so you need to be in the right headspace to read, but I enjoyed!
I was expecting something totally different when I picked this up. Trigger warnings for sexual assault, PTSD.
This was actually much darker than I realized, our MC goes through just so much cruel, awful, traumatic stuff it's was really hard to read.
Basically our girl deals with some sexual assault and winds up befriending couple that she thinks are her friends, but things aren't what they seem and she basically just winds up suffering more. Things got a lot worse before they got any better.
A lot of people can tolerate this sort of dark, gritty, heartbreaking work, and I can occasionally, but now was just not the time for me. It depressed me, and I felt myself not wanting to pick up the book. The writing was above average tho, and for me the saving grace. It was very raw, but relatable.
I do think a lot of people will enjoy this, but they have to know what they're getting into beforehand. It's not my favorite but I didn't hate it, I think others with different tastes will enjoy it more.
I will be the first one to admit I am over the top dramatic . If they made muzzles for humans, I would be the test subject .
Now, I’m usually boosting positivity and my love for all the wild and twisty books I read but what happens when one falls into your hands that leaves you full of emotions?
That’s where I’m at.
I cried, I laughed, I cried some more. I even yelled quite a bit .
I’m now alone with my thoughts so I’m going to share them with you.
This book needs to be read by all . It was an eye opener . Everything happens for a reason and there was a reason I needed to read this book. This might be a work of fiction but a lot of the topics are very real . Before I go and spoil anything for you I’ll leave you with a little teaser :
On a sultry summer night in Paris, two women meet in line at an ice cream kiosk on the Ile de la Cité. One is tall, fair, striking, with an indeterminate accent. The other, a troubled American TV star, is hiding her beauty and identity under a shapeless sweatshirt, wearing sunglasses even in the darkness. When leering male tourists hassle the pair, the blonde pulls out a knife and a sisterhood is born. Both women have been victims of male violence, and both are warriors—one trained and calculating, one instinctually ferocious. They each think they know who they are dealing with. But both are very, very wrong.
In a story that unfolds with unexpected humor and the pace of a thriller, acclaimed novelist Helen Schulman lays bare what happens to women—no matter how fortunate they may appear to be on the surface—whose lives have been warped by brutality and misogyny. The issues are universal, but the core of the story is intimate: a passionate exploration of love, betrayal, and survival. Lucky Dogs asks and answers a shattering question: How could one woman so utterly betray another?
Thank you Helen Schulman, Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor and NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC e-book. This was my first read by Schulman and it certainly will not be my last. This story is pretty much every woman's struggle and really our day to day life threat. Literally the scenario is as old as time by Schulman has catapulted it into something to give us strength. The book seemed to hold several genres wrapped up into one but it was so well written and witty. I loved it
Lucky Dogs kept me on the edge of my seat. I immediately became invested in the stories of Meredith and NIna. I didn't realize it would be a #MeToo story from reading the synopsis, but the parallels were definitely their. I thought it worked for the story and gave me an anchor into my connection with the book.
Thank you for giving me access to this ARC!
"Lucky Dogs" is not a book I've been able to read all at once because of its content and themes about sexual assault, abuse, and war.
this starts out with Meredith, an actress, during the aftermath of being assaulted by a hollywood director. this is a "me too" sorry through and through, but it also pulls in elements from the other POV, Samara who grew up during the persecution of Muslims in Palestine. so, it deals with a lot of heavy topics.
it was interesting how two women on polar opposite worlds crossed paths, but it was jarring to go from Meredith's head to the horrors of war. even the author changed the writing style—Meredith's is very personal and familiar due to its first person, almost memoir-like style, and Samara's is in third-person, which tells a lot about how distanced Samara as a child felt in that environment and how much we don't really know about her. the difference between the two women is very apparent, though they are both heavily impacted by misogyny their actions are a product of different circumstances (sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't)
despite her imperfections, I liked Meredith maybe because of her naïveté. she's someone who fell quite quickly for Samara's schemes because she wanted a friend, someone to believe her, but this book is very much about how even women can be complicit (which....ok yeah but I wish these types of books focused on who's actually doing harm)
Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Publishing for gifting me with an ARC of Helen Schuman’s newest novel Lucky Dogs. In exchange I offer my honest review.
This novel is literally ripped from the headlines. A young unknown starlet is sexually assaulted by an important influential Hollywood producer promising money, fame and opportunities in exchange for her silence and commitment. When the girl chooses to publicly share her experience she unleashes a media shitstorm. sending her fleeing to Paris. It’s there in France where Merry meets Nina, a woman she believes is her ally but sadly Nina is playing her own game.
I appreciate what the author wanted to convey about rape culture, loyalty, female empowerment, toxic relationships, abuse of power, corruption and the price of fame. My issue with this book was the clunky fusing of Nina’s backstory meshing with Merry’s current storyline. It just felt messy and awkward. It took me out of the current story. Additionally the ending felt rushed and a little silly.
I enjoyed the writing but felt like this book needed a bit more cohesion.
An interesting story that I didn’t realize would be based on #MeToo. Told in an interesting way, with the story switching POVs and narrators throughout.
This was a fascinating delving deep into the impacts of sexual assault and abuse in the film industry, told through the lends of narrator that has many other issues besides that. She's not very likable, but I found that to be a point. However, I thought the book tried to do too much in a short amount of time by bringing in the other female character, Nina, in to the point where we get her entire origin story. I began losing steam when we got to those sections.
I enjoyed Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman and would recommend to others. What I liked about it: The premise of the story includes ripped from the headlines true crime elements surrounding the "Me Too" movement, and portrays a depiction of how easily it can be to become a victim. Repeatedly. I also liked the thriller aspect to the book once it got rolling.
I gave this book three stars because because I liked it. Didn't love it. I did like the overarching story line and I really pulled for Meredith as she was continually finding herself in terrible predicaments. I had a hard time with how she responded to both the initial victimization, and the subsequent situation. I wanted her to be a stronger female character. But in reflection, the reality of it is that before all of the attention had been given to sexual abuse, it was terribly hidden, and women didn't feel they could come out with it and fight to the end. So they escaped. In this case, literally to another country. Only to become a victim again.
A good book does provoke, and challenge us. In this case it did! I had a hard time understanding Nina, and as much as I tried to relate and understand when given her background, I just couldn't get there, but I am not sure I was supposed to..... Hence the mixed feelings. So in other words, I believe the author was able to get out her message and create the atmosphere for thought and reflection, though at times I was confused and not 100% bought in.
Thank you to Helen Schulman for writing a very open book on abuse that needs to be addressed continually as it is still happening even today after all of the attention, and not sure what that says about humanity.
I appreciate Helen Schulman, NetGalley, and Knopf books for the opportunity to read Lucky Dogs. My review is voluntary, and all my opinions my own.
Meredith trusts Nina- thinks she's a friend just when she really needs one. And women support women, right? Well,, no. Meredith has fled the US for Paris thanks to a deeply disturbing me-t00 moment with a powerful producer she calls the "rug." And the Rug has hired Nina to get close to Meredith and then discredit her. Nina's back story is more interesting than Meredith's but know that these women have more in common than it first appears. It's a carefully plotted thriller with intriguing characters on top of a familiar theme. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. For fans of literary fiction.
Thank you Alfred A. Knopf and Net galley for providing me with an advance copy of this terrific novel. Violet-eyed starlet Meredith Montgomery is sexually assaulted by "the Rug," a Harvey Weinstein-ish producer. Meredith’s agent, Marietta, whom Meredith, with her wry insights, explains “must have been in her early fifties, but with all that meditation and . . . help of some Cindy Crawford-approved injectables” could pass for forties, urges her client not to involve the police because the Rug was very powerful and Meredith had appeared nude on the screen. Marietta was satisfied that the matter would be aptly handled “in-house.” When the lawyer her manager retains for her advises Meredith that she can’t bring charges against the Rug—“Way too late for that. His word against yours, you lose. Forget about it”—Meredith’s first thought is: a haiku! The lawyer does obtain a paltry $150K settlement and an empty promise that the Rug was contrite and eager to cast Meredith in an A-list ensemble piece.
The NDA Meredith signed forbids her from talking about the Rug, but she vents on social media about a thinly veiled Rug, causing the film and television offers to dry up. She decamps to Paris with the intention of working on a memoir exposing the Rug. One evening, a disheveled Meredith ventures out to a Berthillon kiosk on the Ile de la Cité where two middle-aged American male tourists verbally accost her and another woman who defends herself and Meredith with a switchblade. That woman, Nina Willis, confides that she carries a knife as she was gang-raped as a teenager and now works as an activist sharing her story “to warn girls to be careful.” Meredith and Nina forge an immediate friendship (too immediate) and Meredith is tantalized by Nina’s proposal that the actress serve as the a celebrity spokesperson for Women’s Work, a women’s rights group based in Amsterdam. But, just as quickly as they bonded, Nina ghosts Meredith and a stunned Meredith returns to her home on the Venice Canals in Los Angeles where her phones are tapped, she is surveilled, and numerous articles appear on the internet deeming her crazy, a deviant, a liar, and worse.
Curiously, the next section of the book is set in Sarajevo during the Bosnian genocide, where we witness the rape of Lejila, a Muslim woman, by her neighbor while her husband and her children stand by helplessly. Her husband lost in the Bosnian genocide, Lejila and her daughter, Samara, are evacuated to Israel by a Jewish relief organization grateful that Lejila’s grandfather had hidden a Jewish family in their basement during World War II. This disparate section introduces a character whose relevance to Meredith is not immediately clear, but Schulman is a skilled writer and the connection between Meredith and Samara is flawlessly executed.
It might seem that we have had enough of these high-profile sexual abuse scandals, but this novel, seemingly inspired by Rose McGowan’s role in bringing down Weinstein and helping to launch the #MeToo movement, is smart, highly entertaining and timely. With her delicious observations of the brutality of show business, Schulman has an unerring eye for detail and character development. She writes in a sleek, cool style which conveys both Meredith’s naïveté and her lively irony. This novel moves at the pace of a thriller and enchants with its humor and wit.
Starting out, I did not know this was loosely vased on the true premise of Rose McGowan and the Mossad agent that befriended and betrayed her on behalf of Harvey Weinstein.
I think that the fact that a bug chunk of this is rooted in reality makes it hard to evaluate it on it's own terms. Initily I thought that the book was trying to oush the reader to think about how much empathy they were willing to give abused women when those women in turn were awful to people around them. An interesting, if depressing, exercise. But the realization that so much of the real story of Weibstein and his accusers has spilled over onto these pages made it feel a lot more icky to play around with rhetorical questions like that.
There are a couple of stand-out sections, like Nina's childhood in war-time Bosnia, that deserved more room to breathe. But in the end, the interesting elements were dulled by grating characterizations and perspective shifts.
I didn't realize it ahead of time, but this book was clearly based heavily on true events (#metoo and the Weinstien case).
Meredith is a struggling young actress who is victimized by a wealthy, high profile producer. She meets and befriends Nina, who seems to have a lot in common, but might not be who she seems. I don't want to say too much more at the risk of giving spoilers.
This wouldn't be my favorite book, but I didn't hate it. I found myself taken in by some chapters and bored with others. Personally, I don't love books that are loosely based on true events, when it matches real life too closely.
It definitely has some trigger warnings, so it won't be for everyone.
DNF at 30%. felt suffocatingly meandering in its prose, and like it was trying too hard to be edgy. just so meandering, at the beginning it feels like nothing really happens but it alludes to the big reveal that you are not really contextualized into yet, so it just feels like you are at the end of a book you didn’t read the beginning of, and then after that short snippet of Meredith’s perspective, suddenly you are dropped into a deep deep war perspective from the father of Nina, who is actually a child of war spying on Meredith i guess? this is said to be based on event from the Harvey Weinstein case but i don’t know anything about this particular incident so i was just confused and could not continue. great book cover but i don’t know, something about it just didn’t work for me.
A #MeToo novel. Two women, meet. One is a b-list actress who has been dealing with the actions of a powerful producer. She meets a pair who wants to help her bring the producer to justice, but are they really who they say they are?
This is a powerful story, and it's not an easy read. It's a modern story for the time.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review.
Thank you to Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor, Knopf and NetGalley for an electronic ARC of this novel.
Lucky Dogs is a thinly veiled retelling of the Harvey Weinstein #MeToo story and Rose McGowan's story. A young American actress is traumatized by her past with a wealthy producer and tries to tell her story on social media. Not getting any traction, she flees to Paris where she meets a charismatic woman Nina, who works for a women's rights group, and is eager to spread the actress' story to get justice. Only Nina isn't who she claims to be.
This story was interesting but depressing in a lot of ways. It deals with the perils of fame, social media, and the aftermath of trauma. The book is told in parts with each part focusing on one of the two main characters. It was a well written book and has a powerful message, but it's not going to be for everyone.
I liked the writing style and the almost thriller-esque pacing. I loved that the two main characters were both fleshed out and complex and that we were able to understand if not sympathize with them, as unlikeable as they were.
The different “parts” of the story (particularly the jump between 1 & 2) were so vastly different and the change from one characters POV to another were so abrupt that it felt at times like reading two completely separate books which caused some confusion for me at the time, but now that I’ve finished, I feel that it showcases the author’s range.
I was unsure if this was a story that would stick with me after reading (as a woman the topic is unfortunately nothing unknown to me) UNTIL the author’s note at the end, where the real life event that this was inspired by is discussed. I was not entirely familiar with much of the details of said case and this information cast the book in a much different, much more impactful light.
3.5/5 stars overall.
Thanks to Netgalley and Knopf for the ebook. The author has taken the reporting on the Weinstein abuses and pulled her own story about an unstable young actress who gets abused by a producer and a young woman who befriends the actress, but turns out to be an ex Mossad agent spying on the actress, hired by the monstrous producer. The author splits the story and alternates chapters by doing a deep dive into each woman and their lives to show how they both made the choices that they did.