Bibliofiles: Born Under A Lucky Moon
A confession: The time I was the most embarrassed I’ve ever been occurred when I was in middle school and my younger brother thought it would be hilarious to come out of my room wearing one of my bras over his t-shirt. I was working on a group project for school when he started parading around the table, commenting on our work as if he were me. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad had the object of my girlhood affection not been present (and thoroughly entertained by his performance). I was instantly and irrevocably mortified. My cheeks turned crimson, my ears were burning hot and my heart raced (gearing up, no doubt, to flee yet somehow my legs became immovable lead stumps). Yes, it seems that a good family is at once your greatest asset and a cross to bear.
With humor and heart, Dana Precious captures this ubiquitous scenario in her book, Born Under A Lucky Moon. Her debut novel spans two years of Jeannie Thompson’s life as she tells her current beau (in 2006) of her family’s antics in an attempt to warn him of their chaotic nature (with stories from 1986). The story jumps effortlessly from past to present in a style that is both fast paced and engaging.
Jeannie is the youngest of five children, brought up in a loving but unruly household where drama and embarrassment occurred on the regular. Having married and subsequently divorced a man who never saw past the Thompson family debacles enough to appreciate the steadfast love that lingered underneath the commotion, Jeannie is extremely reluctant to let Aidan, her current boyfriend, anywhere near her family. In addition to keeping her family away from Aidan, Jeannie works at a demanding movie studio where her position and rank are perpetually in jeopardy.
Juggling a challenging career and love life would be hard for anyone, but especially so for someone who never wants those worlds to overlap. At times I wondered how Jeannie envisioned her separation of love and family to shake out in the long run. Not to mention that the effort she put forth to keep the two apart was exhausting and oftentimes seemed selfish on her part, when loved ones were lied to and/or hurt by her behavior.
After all, not even little Prince George of Cambridge has the perfect family (Aunt Fergie, anyone?) but if your family has your back then you owe it to them to always have theirs too. At times Jeannie seems too focused on the foibles and not grateful enough for the foundation her family gave her.
In the end the humor and likeability inherent to the Thompson family elevates the story and crafts a plot that is enjoyable and heartening. Born Under A Lucky Moon reads like a movie you’d enjoy on a date (no doubt due to the author’s professional background working in the film industry). It is a good choice to take on vacation, or pick up when you need something light to read. When you’ve finished it you may want to call up your brother and ask to speak with your niece—there may be a story or two she’s never heard before…
**Join us next time as we discuss Silas Marner by George Eliot. Written over 150 years ago, this seemingly simple tale of a reclusive and misunderstood man ultimately conveys a deeper message about loneliness, hope, and the impact that love can have. It’s a deftly written short novel that you are sure to enjoy.