It’s hard for New York City-based ad whiz Sarah Harper to think of one solid, selfless and important thing she’s done in recent memory: save creating a highly successful — and arguably sexist — marketing campaign for a bra line. With one unfortunate mass email, Sarah finds herself without a job, a significant other or a life. And plenty of time to do some reevaluating.
Returning to Texas for Thanksgiving and a good wound-licking, Sarah shares news of her troubles with her big sister — and, in turn, Mackie shares her own problems: she and her husband, Clive, still can’t have a baby. After years of trying, Mackie is ready to give up on becoming a mother and focus instead on the one thing at which Sarah herself had been successful: building a bigger career. Moving forward.
But seeing her sister in such obvious pain, Sarah isn’t ready to let Mackie give up on parenthood. After seeing countless specialists, it becomes obvious that what Mackie and Clive need for conception is a suitable, supple womb. And Sarah — workaholic, solitary Sarah — just so happens to have one.
Thus begins Katherine Center’s Get Lucky, a small gem of a novel dealing with sisters and mothers, fathers and children, families of both the traditional — and non-traditional — variety. And though Sarah has certainly already reached adulthood in New York, it takes coming home to Texas for her real coming-of-age odyssey to begin. And it just might take her one big, selfless act to get her back on course.
What I loved about Everyone Is Beautiful, one of my favorite reads in 2009, is just as well-executed in Get Lucky: Center writes with amazing attention to detail and creates vivid, sympathetic and charming characters I can actually see and hear. Our narrator Sarah is far from perfect, but that’s what makes her authentic. And believable. And someone I could root for, having felt like I’d gone on a messy, chaotic and exciting adventure with her.
I’m a sucker for novels about sisters — and this one definitely didn’t disappoint. Separated in age by only a year, Mackie and Sarah’s relationship felt very much like the unpredictable rollercoaster we often experience with our siblings. I loved the exploration of family, too, as the girls struggle to release the pain and feelings of loss surrounding their mother’s death more than a decade prior. Though he wasn’t a huge physical presence in the story, their father, too, played an important part in their development. And I absolutely loved Dixie, their father’s rhinestone-studded cowboy fiancee. What a fun, original character!
To be honest, there wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy about the novel. When it came to Everett Thompson, Sarah’s first boyfriend and reemerging love interest, I would have liked a little more face time — but this wasn’t a traditional romance, so I can’t complain (too much). I was intrigued by their past and loved the pieces of history Mackie or other characters would unearth, feeding to us like slivers of candy. Everett was definitely swoon-worthy and someone I would have enjoyed getting to know a wee bit better!
Based on her second novel and most recent offering, Center can really do no wrong in my eyes. Read her for her amazing insights into female relationships, motherhood, family and friendship. Or? Just read her because she crafts a fast-paced, well-written and engrossing story. One that’ll stick with me for quite a while.
4.5 out of 5!
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours