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Originally published in Canada in 1996, this light treat by the author of A Complicated Kindness and A Boy of Good Breeding sees 18-year-old single mother Lucy Van Alstyne join the nouveau poor on the dole in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At a public housing complex nicknamed Half-A-Life, mothering is the noblest calling and absent fathers are as relevant as orbiting "space junk." Lucy doesn't know which of "eight or nine" fleeting lovers fathered her infant son, Dillinger (named after John Dillinger, who Lucy insists is a lucky man and still alive); her fast friend Alicia fantasizes about reuniting with the fire-eating juggler who got her pregnant with twins during a one-night stand several years earlier. Lucy fabricates letters to Alicia from the fire-eater, and the two women and their five kids set off to search for him. The novel offers a humorous look at the absurdities of the Canadian welfare system while unwinding the intricacies of a sticky-sweet friendship. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Eighteen-year-old Lucy isn't sure who the father of her nine-month-old son, Dillinger, is: "Usually, I just enjoyed Dill without wondering how exactly he got here." Her closest friend is wild, dynamic Lish, a young mother who, like Lucy, lives on the dole in a Winnipeg housing project. In a voice that's vulnerable, observant, and deadly funny, Lucy describes a summer among the projects' eccentric residents: the hippies, who heal earaches with onions; the refugees of abusive and lost love; and open, bohemian Lish, who helps Lucy face her own sorrows and confusions. The author of A Complicated Kindness (2004) and A Boy of Good Breeding (2006) offers another memorable portrait of a struggling young person who finds unexpected resilience and peace: "That should be the mark of success . . . just a general feeling of happiness," says Lucy. While the vivid scenes don't add up to a cohesive whole, readers will return to the hilarious, heartbreaking dialogue and the poignant questions about finding love, making a life, and discovering how stories and secrets impact others. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.