Book Talk: *Get Lucky*, by Katherine Center (TLC Book Tour)

Disclosure: I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) of this book from the publisher, via TLC Book Tours, for the purposes of this review. The book is now available for purchase. *Purchasing links in this review are through my Amazon Affiliate account and will generate a small referral fee for me, if used.

Get Lucky by Katherine Center
Get Lucky

Katherine Center
Ballantine Books (2010), Paperback original (ISBN 0345507916 / 9780345507914)
Fiction, 288 pages

Opening Lines: “First:  I got fired.  For emailing a website with hundreds of pictures of breasts to every single person in our company.  Even the CEO and chairman of the board. Even the summer interns. Looking back, I may have been ready to leave my job.  I’d like to give myself the benefit of the doubt.  Sometimes the crazy things I do are actually very sensible.  And sometimes, of course, they’re just crazy.”

Book description: Sarah Harper isn’t sure if the stupid decisions she sometimes makes are good choices in disguise—or if they’re really just stupid. But either way, after forwarding an inappropriate email to her entire company, she suddenly finds herself out of a job.

          So she goes home to Houston—and her sister, Mackie—for Thanksgiving. But before Sarah can share her troubles with her sister, she learns that Mackie has some woes of her own: After years of trying, Mackie’s given up on having a baby—and plans to sell on eBay the entire nursery she’s set up. Which gives Sarah a brilliant idea—an idea that could fix everyone’s problems. An idea that gives Sarah the chance to take care of her big sister for once—instead of the other way around.

          But nothing worthwhile is ever easy. After a decade away, Sarah is forced to confront one ghost from her past after another: the father she’s lost touch with, the memories of her mother, the sweet guy she dumped horribly in high school. Soon everything that matters is on the line—and Sarah can only hope that by changing her life she has changed her luck, too.

Comments: I’ve been trying to get around to reading one of Katherine Center’s novels for a while, and Get Lucky was a good place to start. The novel trods on some serious territory, but with a light touch, and features an appealing – if sometimes frustrating – leading character.

Sarah Harper is a woman who fully invests herself in whatever she’s doing – one thing at a time. For the last several years, that singular focus has been applied to her New York City advertising career – most recently, to a bra campaign that looks like it could be her biggest triumph ever. Unfortunately, the triumph is dampened by her being fired the day the campaign is unveiled – even though the e-mail she sent the entire company the night before was vaguely related to the project, it was still highly inappropriate.

But Sarah does tend to act on impulse. Returning home to Houston for the holidays just after being fired, she learns that her sister Mackie has been forced to end her own singular-focus project – trying to get pregnant. It isn’t long before Sarah comes up with an idea that will give her a new focus and benefit her sister, too. The project that the sisters undertake together probably isn’t something that should be entered this impulsively, but it’s certainly well-intentioned. And as that effort approaches its end, her impulsiveness and good intentions bring Sarah a new job…and the possibility of a very different future.

The story is told through Sarah’s first-person narration several years after these events, and Sarah’s reflection on them from that perspective is where much of the humor and insight in the novel comes through – looking back, she can see much more clearly how much she didn’t see at the time. Many of the complications Sarah didn’t foresee are rather obvious to the reader, though – they were to me, at any rate, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment, because I liked Sarah. I’d have liked her to be a bit more self-aware at the time she went through these experiences, but life doesn’t necessarily work like that, so I can’t really begrudge it even if I did find it frustrating at times.

The structure of the book reflects Sarah’s “one thing at a time” focus, and I appreciated that the main objects of that focus were her work and her relationship…with her sister. Sisterhood is powerful and often complicated even under the best conditions, and while carrying a pregnancy for your sister is certainly an act of devotion and generosity, it’s also pretty risky. I liked the way Center explored Sarah and Mackie’s relationship.

Get Lucky was a quick read, one that made me chuckle, made me think a little, and drew me into the lives of its characters. I have another of Katherine Center’s books buried in TBR Purgatory, and I’ll be digging it out soon so I can read her again.

Rating: 3.5/5

This book counts toward the Blogging Authors Reading Project.

*Buy Get Lucky at Amazon.com

Other stops on this TLC Book Tour:
Thursday, April 1st:  Bermuda Onion
Friday, April 2nd:  Stephanie’s Written Word
Monday, April 5th:  Book Club Classics!
Tuesday, April 6th:  Thoughts of an Evil Overlord
Wednesday, April 7th:  Pop Culture Junkie
Thursday, April 8th:  Caribousmom
Friday, April 9th:  Write for a Reader
Monday, April 12th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, April 13th:  Luxury Reading
Wednesday, April 14th:  S. Krishna’s Books
Thursday, April 15th:  My Friend Amy
Friday, April 16th:  Lit and Life
Monday, April 19th:  Park City Girl
Wednesday, April 21st:  Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, April 22nd:  Maw Books
Monday, April 26th:  Write Meg!
Tuesday, April 27th:  Rundpinne
Wednesday, April 28th:  Diary of an Eccentric

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