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Summer of My Amazing Luck Paperback – Jul 25 2006

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CDN$ 14.39 CDN$ 1.14 First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

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Summer of My Amazing Luck + We Need To Talk About Kevin: A Novel + I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (July 25 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676978479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676978476
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #100,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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.

From Booklist

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.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mckaina on Feb. 10 2007
Format: Paperback
I read "a complicated kindness" by this author and when I saw summer of my amazing luck at the grocery store, I thought I would pick it up. It was so much fun to read. I couldn't put it down. I laughed. it's a good one to pick up if you want to escape from the real world and drift into something else.
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Format: Paperback
I was excited to read "The Summer of My Amazing Luck," as I'd previously read (and highly enjoyed) A Complicated Kindness. A few pages in, I found myself confused by what was going on. There was no plot, no direction, and nothing to keep me reading. I didn't feel any connection to the characters. This is the type of book that I normally go for: Something dark, edgy, and about people who don't "fit in" with the mainstream. I put the book down, disappointed. I like Toews' style of writing, and was drawn to this book because it was so Canadian.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Miriam Toew's First Novel is an unlikely vehicle for humour May 10 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Summer of My Amazing Luck, Miriam Toew's first novel, tells the story of single mothers who inhabit the fictional "Have-A-Life"- (A.K.A."Half-A-Life") welfare project in downtown Winnipeg. Single mom's on welfare seems an unlikey basis for humour, but Summer of My Amazing Luck, shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Humour Prize in 1997, is gut-busting, laugh-out-loud hilarity. Told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Lucy, who lives at "Half-a-Life" with her baby boy "Dillinger", we meet the Lucy's older, more worldly confident, the eccentric Lish, who's raising three young daughters, and is in deparate search for her one true love, a fire-eater from Colorado, the father of her twins.On the backdrop of Winnipeg's mosquito infested rainy season, Lucy and Lish try to make homes for their children, and find love and contentment in their own lives; we pity, admire and love them for it. Summer of My Amazing Luck is a wonderful book, and a tribute to mothers everywhere.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Single mothers' Canadian club Dec 21 2006
By D. P. Birkett - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lucy, the first person narrator, and Lish are unwed mothers living in public housing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a place where Fargo is considered the warm south. Lucy does not know the father of her child because "if you eat a whole can of beans how can you tell which one gave you gas." There are so many unfathered children in the building that their version of the alphabet song is "ABCDEFGHIJKalimony please". Both Lucy and Lish have difficult relationships with conventional respectable unsupportive (in the emotional sense) fathers of their own. These relationships form a faint thread of a plot, although the novel is largely made up of the intersecting stories of the other mothers in the building.

I was reminded of Adrian Leblanc's serious non-fiction "Random Family." That's a great book but Toew's is better, and actually contains more information about the singles mother's predicament, and offers more insight into her motivation, as well as being hilariously funny..

Once again we have a great Canadian female writer. Why is Canada the only country where a list of the top five writers cannot be made up that is not predominantly female?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Interesting. Everything but the kitchen sink included. Jan. 14 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Two single mothers living hand-to-mouth grapple with their desires to be loved and accepted and the relentless search for meaning in life. Ranges from humorous to pathetic. Leaves the reader with understanding, pity, and possibly even admiration for the unlikely heroines.
Highly recommended! Jan. 15 2015
By margieebee - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book! It is the second I have read by Toews, the first being "A Complicated Kindness", which I also gave 4 stars. The characters (single mothers on welfare and others who live in a reduced income housing complex in Winnipeg) are described in such vivid detail- but not the depth of description that can draw away from the main story line. I easily developed mental pictures of each of the main characters in this book, based on Toews' development of the characters. The characters are all very lovable in their own quirky ways. Additionally, the story line may have seemed a bit unbelievable in the truest sense of the word if written by anyone else, but the plot flowed nicely and the side stories truly added to the entire book. I laughed, I felt sympathetic to these young women. I must also admit that I have lived in both Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota cities on I-29 and referenced in the book; thus, I particularly enjoyed those references. This is a book that I picked up and didn't set down until I had finished it. Highly recommended!
Wow March 11 2012
By Ferd - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was amazing. Unbelievably good. Prose was clean. Sarcastic humor and wit. I want to be friends with all the characters in this book. Sing Dylan kicks butt.