I Am Lucky Bird by Fleur Philips
Paperback, 266 pages
Published August 26th 2011 by New Dawn Publishers Ltd
When her mother mysteriously vanishes from the small town of Plains, Montana, 12-year-old Lucky Bird’s childhood comes to an abrupt end. Left to defend herself against her suddenly abusive grandmother, Marian, and forced to endure the twisted predatory games played out by Marian’s lover, Lucky soon finds herself trapped in a nightmare.
Even when she manages to escape, the outside world can’t take away the brutal images of her past. Still haunted by her mother’s disappearance and the trauma that followed, Lucky is easily led down a path of self-destruction—a path that only the intervention of a young stranger and his family can guide her away from. But first, Lucky will have to confront her demons, and the dark truths kept hidden.
"Your mother didn't make it to the library this morning, Lucky," he said. "We're gonna do everything we can to find her."
He turned and looked at Marian. "If you hear from her...if you hear from anybody...give me a call."
He nodded, squeezed my shoulder, and then walked into the foyer and out the front door. I listened to the thud of his boots across the porch boards and down the wooden steps. There was a moment of silence, and then I heard him continue across the dirt path. I heard a car door open and shut. I heard an engine rumble. And then, nothing, as though the officer hadn't been there at all.
Marian rubbed nervously at the knuckles on her left hand as she chewed on her lower lip. Her cheeks were stained with tears. My thumbs were locked tight beneath the straps of my backpack, as though I feared somebody might try and yank the bag from my shoulders. My books were in there, and my pens and pencils, and a paper lunch sack with the remaining half of my ham sandwich wrapped in cellophane. I was supposed to have eaten it on the walk home with AnnMarie, like I did everyday.
Marian pushed her chair back and stood up.
"I'm going out," she whispered.
I remained still as she walked past me and out the front door. The Ford's engine choked and gasped, and then rumbled loudly in the growing darkness.
I'm not sure how long I stood there, staring across the empty dining room and through the window to the blackness beyond. I listened to my breathing and to the steady thumping of my heart. The silence around me was so thick and heavy that at one point I thought my eardrums might actually explode.
And then I was so completely terrified I couldn't move. I couldn't close my eyes. I couldn't even breathe.
I waited. AnnMarie didn't come home.
About the Author:
Fleur Philips is a graduate student at Antioch University in Los Angeles, pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing. She attended the University of Oregon in Eugene where she was awarded placement in the Kidd Tutorial Creative Writing Program. After a short-lived acting career (she was a “featured extra” on Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can), she completed three manuscripts. I Am Lucky Bird is her first novel and was selected as a general fiction finalist for the 2011 Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews. She’s currently working on her second novel which will be released in the summer 2013.
She lives in Upland, California, and when she’s not writing, she’s cheering for her son in his athletic endeavors.
I Am Lucky Bird is a powerful yet touching novel about one young girl's rise above her traumatic childhood. Lucky is a sympathetic character, raised by AnnMarie in Montana until the young woman goes missing. Marian takes over Lucky's care and the twelve year old not only has to deal with this older woman's mean outbursts but has to endure the attention of her weird boyfriend. The rare times Lucky makes a friend, something tragic occurs to impact her life again. As Lucky grows older, she encounters the kindness of a family but with her background, this tragic girl doesn't know how to make wise decisions. Over time Lucky does meet someone and finally learns to trust.
Beautifully written and featuring a young girl with a strong voice, author Fleur Philips tackles sensitive subjects such as child abuse, abandonment and coming of age with quiet strength. Her exposition lifts the subject matter into an unforgettable story. Sometimes tough to read, yet always moving, I Am Lucky Bird tells the tale of girl with a tragic upbringing who is finally able to experience the true meaning of her first name as she ages.
Cover comment: With the exception of the bird, the picture doesn't move me.
Book source: I received a paperback from BookSparksPR in return for my honest review during a book tour.