This is today’s stop on the virtual book tour. First we have a guest comment by the author, Fleur Philips, followed by my review. After that, you get a chance to win a printed copy of I Am Lucky Bird.
Enjoy Fleur’s column first.
Why I Am Lucky Bird?
By Fleur Philips
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to write! When I was young, I’d write poems and short stories—nothing more than a few pages. My first attempt at writing an actual book came in third grade with a children’s book called Misty’s Adventure. I even illustrated it. I wrote the book for an all-school writing contest at Spring Creek Elementary School in Rockford, Illinois. And I won first place! After that, the stories continued to flow. In high school, I started a number of different projects, but I never finished them. I’d get 40 or 50 pages in, and suddenly, I wouldn’t know where to go next. So, I’d start something different, and the same thing would happen. Over and over and over again.
I Am Lucky Bird isn’t my first completed novel, but it’s the first to find a publisher (I finished a manuscript in 1999). I started the book in 2005 and—much like my many other projects over the years—I powered through the first 50 pages and stopped. But it wasn’t writer’s block this time. Rather, an unexpected life change (not entirely uncommon in adulthood) caused me to put the book aside. Work and being a single mom made writing a challenge, and so I focused my attention on other things, all the while thinking about Lucky and her story and hoping I’d find time to eventually finish it. And I did. Another unexpected life change redirected me back to my writing, and in 2010, I applied to graduate school at Antioch University in Los Angeles for my MFA in Creative Writing. I needed a swift kick in the butt to get me back to writing, and within a few months of being in the program, I finished I Am Lucky Bird.
I don’t know exactly where the idea for I Am Lucky Bird came from. Lucky’s story is tragic, her journey heartbreaking. I have nothing in common with her. I grew up in a middle-to-upper class family on the shores of Flathead Lake in Northwest Montana. I have two loving parents and three brothers (all who are alive and thriving). We’re a very close-knit family. I have lived a wonderful life. Even my divorce was easy—my ex and I are great friends, and we continue to raise our son together, although we’re apart. I tend to gravitate to the unknown, toward stories that are not my own—mine is boring. I want to experience the tragedies I’ve managed to escape throughout my life. Why? I don’t know. But I’m a sucker for sad movies—Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, My Sister’s Keeper. I feel a need to connect with my characters because, in a way, I want to help them. I want to give them hope and let them see that life can be good. I feel like a guardian when I write—I can create an unfathomable situation, but in the end, can turn it into something magnificent. And this gives me strength.
Fleur Philips is a Communications Consultant with a BA in English from the University of Montana and is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University in Los Angeles.
I Am Lucky Bird was a general fiction finalist for the 2011 Book of the Year Award for ForeWord Reviews: https://botya.forewordreviews.com/books/i-am-lucky-bird/
I Am Lucky Bird is available in hard copy and on Kindle through http://www.amazon.com
I Am Lucky Bird
By Fleur Philips
Published by New Dawn Publishers
This book was supplied to me by the publisher through NetGalley, with the agreement that if I chose to write a review, it would be a fair and honest one.
“My existence was just one of the many tragic events in the life of my grandmother, Marian Ann Bird. She told me she found me in an empty cardboard box next to an industrial garbage bin in the alley behind the Green Valley Bar in Plains, Montana.”
This first sentence by Lucky Bird isn’t exactly true, although we do not discover this until almost the end of the book. I mention it because any alert reader is likely to wonder early on whether there are some things Lucky does not know.
Lucky’s name seems ironic, particularly after her adoptive mother vanishes, her grandmother moves in with her boyfriend leaving Lucky alone in the family home, although she is still in high school and her grandmother does bring her groceries. She is raped by her grandmother’s boyfriend, and her grandmother locks her in the house and does not let her out, personally delivering the baby. Lucky hears the baby cry once. She never sees the baby and never hears another cry.
Eventually, Lucky escapes and winds up with a very bad crowd. But somehow, she manages to avoid harming anyone but herself, and she rescues a man who is about to be murdered.
Her name begins to fit when, drug addicted, broke, and in total despair, she decides to commit suicide, and is rescued by the best possible person. From there on, Lucky is indeed lucky.
To say more about the plot would be to create a spoiler, so instead I will say that the author succeeded in creating a believable plot with believable characters. There is an element of fantasy in the end of the book, but it is not impossible, merely improbable. I found this well worth reading, and it’s one that I will keep and reread several more times.
Author of Scene of the Crime and numerous other novels and nonfiction work about writing mysteries
How can you win a copy of I Am Lucky Bird? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and convince me that you are the best person for me to give this book to. What will you do with it? Will you study the writing techniques that make it such a good book? Will you review it? I’ll announce the wines (two of them) on Friday, but I will admit that one person has already made such an impression that it will take powerful convincing to dislodge her. So operationally there is only one copy left to give away. Will you get it?