Cover Image: Lucky Dogs

Lucky Dogs

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that delves into the dark corners of power, betrayal, and survival. Set against the backdrop of a high-profile sexual abuse scandal, this book weaves together the lives of two women whose paths intersect in unexpected and devastating ways.

The story begins on a sultry summer night in Paris, where two women meet at an ice cream kiosk on the Ile de la Cité. One is a tall, fair stranger with an indeterminate accent, while the other is a troubled American TV star hiding her identity under a shapeless sweatshirt and sunglasses. When faced with leering male tourists, the blonde woman 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, the other instinctually ferocious.

As the narrative unfolds, Schulman masterfully explores the complexities of trauma, self-preservation, and the bonds that form between survivors. The issues at play are universal, but the heart of the story lies in the intimate exploration of love, betrayal, and the lengths to which one woman can utterly betray another.

Schulman's prose is sharp, evocative, and unflinching. She peels back the layers of her characters, revealing their vulnerabilities, fears, and hidden strengths. The pacing is relentless, akin to a thriller, as we follow these women across continents and decades. The novel's unexpected humor provides moments of relief, but the underlying tension never wavers.

Lucky Dogs is more than a mere page-turner; it's a searing examination of the human condition. Schulman's portrayal of the tangled web of power dynamics, secrets, and the choices we make when faced with unimaginable circumstances is both haunting and unforgettable.

In this fictional re-telling inspired by real-world events, Schulman captures the essence of resilience and the indomitable spirit of those who refuse to be silenced. As readers, we are left pondering the shattering question: How could one woman betray another so utterly?

This novel is a tour de force—a raw, unapologetic exploration of survival, sisterhood, and the lengths we'll go to protect ourselves and those we love. Lucky Dogs is a must-read for anyone seeking a powerful and unflinching look at the human psyche in the face of adversity.

Was this review helpful?

Lucky Dogs was thought-provoking, thrilling, and sometimes funny novel of how different women are impacted by misogyny and violence that men inflict on women.

My only con is that the first half really flows and is intriguing, but the second half of the book, when the POV switched, was a real struggle to get through. And it also was the important part of the book, so it was disappointing that I had such a struggle with.

Definitely an important subject matter, though.

Was this review helpful?

As much as I wanted to continue this book, I just can’t force myself to. One, forcing myself to complete something I do for fun seems redundant. And two, I refuse to let a book that doesn’t work for me put me into a slump.

I had a lot of high hopes for this book. Not for nothing, I adore the cover. I was curious to read about this fictionalization of a #MeToo story and I love stories based on famous people. I loved the idea that Meredith befriends Nina while in Paris because together they were able to defend themselves from some gross, entitled men.

The writing style is not something I can mesh with, however, and no matter how much more I read, I find myself losing interest. I’ve seen mostly good reviews for this, so I’m hoping it will find its audience, I am just not part of it.

Was this review helpful?

Unfortunately I am just really burnt out on the #metoo books and I just find them depressing at this point. Couldn't get through this one.

Was this review helpful?

I liked the writing style, even though sometimes I got confuse about what was going on in a conversation (sometimes was to chaotic). The development of the plot was slow, I usually don't mind that, but added to the confusing topics on the conversations, sometimes I lost interest in reading.

I think that change once I was 50% into the book, but was a hard begining. The ending and charachter development was worth it.

Was this review helpful?

The anger I feel for Harvey Weinstein will never fade, especially now that I've read "Lucky Dogs," Helen Schulman's fictionalized account of Weinstein's crimes against the actress, Rose McGowan. To think that he actually hired Israeli spies to undermine his accusers -- McGowan included -- is unthinkable and unforgiveable. In fact, all that Weinstein did is unthinkable and unforgiveable.

Schulman's take on the Weinstein affair is riveting from start to finish. Meredith, the actress, and Nina, the spy, are complicated characters, both unsympathetic at times, though Nina by far is the most off-putting. Even her harrowing childhood in Sarajevo isn't enough for us to forgive her actions. And Meredith makes poor choice after poor choice, including becoming weirdly obsessed with Nina. She can be tiring.

Still, "Lucky Dogs" is some good reading. I was engrossed in the lives of these two women, and I loved the ending. Schulman leaves us with a final image of Meredith that is beyond perfect.


My sincerest appreciation to Helen Schulman, Knopf, and NetGalley for the digital review copy. All thoughts and opinions herein are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This was a heavy read. At times, I found myself confused by the characters and narrative. I knew it was inspired by Rose McGowan & Harvey Weinstein, so it was sometimes difficult to separate facts from fiction. Lucky Dogs was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I'm glad I read it.

Was this review helpful?

Ooooof.

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

Immersive, engaging, and very timely. A recommended purchase for collections where thrillers are popular.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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!!)

Was this review helpful?

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.

DNF

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

- 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.

Was this review helpful?