by Jane Smiley
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Pub Date 23 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 23 May 2024
Before Jodie Rattler became a star, she was a girl growing up in St. Louis. One day in 1955, when she was just six years old, her uncle Drew took her to the racetrack, where she got lucky—and that roll of two-dollar bills she won has never since left her side. Jodie thrived in the warmth of her extended family, and then—through a combination of hard work and serendipity—she started a singing career, which catapulted her from St. Louis to New York City, from the English countryside to the tropical beaches of St. Thomas, from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and back again. Jodie comes of age in recording studios, backstage, and on tour, and she tries to hold her own in the wake of Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell. Yet it feels like something is missing. Could it be true love? Or is that not actually what Jodie is looking for?
Full of atmosphere, shot through with longing and exuberance, romance and rock 'n' roll, Lucky is a story of chance and grit and the glitter of real talent, a colorful portrait of one woman's journey in search of herself.
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Average rating from 37 members
I have always loved Jane Smiley’s books, but I think this is the best yet. The story is about the life of Jodie and how she navigates family, friends, and a career as a somewhat successful folk singer. The story contain a lot of day to day details that might normally be a bit mundane, but Smiley uses them to keep the story moving. And it does move- I kept looking to see what percentage I had read because I didn’t want to get through it too quickly. Would have loved a sequel, but the epilogue changes how you feel about the story- not in a bad way, but in a different way. Enjoy this book to the end.
"Lucky" by Jane Smiley takes readers on a soulful journey through the life of Jodie Rattler, a folk musician who rises to fame against the backdrop of changing times. Set against a rich tapestry of locations spanning from St. Louis to New York City, the English countryside to the tropical beaches of St. Thomas, Cleveland to Los Angeles, and back again, the novel captures the essence of Jodie's life from her beginnings in St. Louis to her ascent to stardom.
The narrative unfolds in 1955 when six-year-old Jodie experiences a stroke of luck at the racetrack, winning a roll of two-dollar bills that becomes a talisman accompanying her throughout her life. Jane Smiley skillfully paints the portrait of Jodie's coming-of-age within the embrace of her extended family and her journey into the world of folk music. The novel navigates through recording studios, backstage moments, and tours, providing readers with a front-row seat to Jodie's rise to fame.
As Jodie finds herself in the company of iconic figures such as Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell, the novel explores her quest for something more—perhaps true love or a deeper understanding of herself. The narrative is imbued with a sense of longing, exuberance, and the glittering allure of real talent.
"Lucky" is not just a tale of a musician's success but also a reflection on the intersections of chance and grit in one woman's life. The novel captures the essence of the times, blending romance, rock 'n' roll, and the vibrant spirit of an era marked by cultural shifts and musical evolution.
Jane Smiley weaves a colorful and atmospheric narrative that delves into the complexities of fame, love, and the search for one's true self. "Lucky" promises readers a journey through the heart and soul of a woman whose life is intertwined with the rhythms of folk music and the beats of her own heart.