Friday, April 16, 2010

Get Lucky by Katherine Center

Get Lucky by Katherine Center
288 pages
Published April 2010 by Random House
Source: the publisher and TLC Book Tours

Sarah Harper has had a crisis of conscience. Either that or she's just stayed up too late and in her sleepless state made a terrible decision. Either way, she has just sabotaged herself by forwarding on an email that her sister had sent Sarah to her entire company. Which might not be, in and of itself, a bad thing, except that the email was filled with pictures of women's breasts. So the lady that is responsible for the company's latest ad campaign for a line of bras now finds herself without a job. Fired by her former lover. A workaholic, Sarah doesn't know what to do with herself so she puts her things in storage and hops a plane for Houston and her family. As if she were not down enough, Sarah finds herself seated on the plane next to a high-school sweetheart. She broke his heart; he tells her now that she looks old. She can't wait to get to her sister, her closest friend.

But when her sister, Mackie, picks her up at the airport, Mackie has a confession to make. She has come to the end of her options for having a child of her own. She and her husband, Clive, are giving up. Which sets Sarah's mind in motion--why can't she carry Clive and Mackie's baby? After all, they have plenty of room for her to stay with them, can afford to support her and she has no where better to be. Soon Sarah finds herself pregnant with twins and life is not quite as idyllic as she had anticipated. For one thing, she soon tires of Mackie's constant hovering as she tries to protect her babies. Also, it turns out that ex-high school boyfriend was headed to Houston to work with Clive's company, a situation that will put Sarah and him together frequently. And Sarah starts to wonder about giving up these little humans that have been growing inside of her.

Toss into all of this a situation involving the ex-boss and the model for the bra campaign, her widowed father's new girlfriend (Dixie), a crush on her brother-in-law, a new job with a preservation society and a Clive and Mackie's va-va-va-voom tenant and Sarah's life has become anything but the relaxing break she was expecting when she left New York.

I defy you not to get pulled in by a book that opens like this:
"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."
Center's books are probably considered chick-lit by many. And, to be fair, they probably do fall into that category to some extent; at least the two books I have read by her do. There are handsome men, leading ladies in distress, complications, other women--that sort of thing. And in this book, the relationship with the the handsome leading man in this one didn't work that well for me. It just didn't seem to have much development--things just sort of happened.

But this book is so much more than chick-lit. Center's style of writing is unique. She mixes in humor (the kind that sometimes makes me laugh out loud), with moments that really tug at your heart (like the scene where Dixie discovers that Sarah's dad has never gotten rid of one single thing that belonged to her mother), and some really terrific observations about people, our relationships and our life choices.
"Either way, I couldn't get around what they had to say. That an economy based on buying stuff needed to keep us all dissatisfied and miserable, needed to keep us focused on what we didn't have instead of what we did, and needed to convince us that things like happiness and peace and beauty could be bought."
"I should mention that my sister and I were close. We weren't best friends exactly, though--because a best friend is a person you choose. A best friend, in most cases, is a temporary person, too, until she moves away, or gets a promotion and starts working too hard, or just drifts off. Friends depend on a certain amount of convenience. With friends, you have to have their number handy, or work in the same office, of live in the same city. With sisters, none of that matters. And in the end, for me, that would be a lucky thing."
It's gems of truths like those that make me get over the fact that I wasn't wild about the way Sarah's feelings about seeing the babies after they were born was resolved. It's the fact that Center can so accurately describe the feelings that Sarah has about not being in her old life while she's pregnant or how she feels about seeing her father become more and more hermit like that keep me reading. It's lines like "He dressed like a handsomer man" and "...when you're tethered, all you can do is flap like hell to get free---long after your feathers are gone, or even maybe your wings" that make reading Center's books so delightful. And even though the book pretty much wraps everything up with a tidy bow, Center acknowledges that some things in life just aren't that easy to wrap up neatly.
"All this time later, I am glad Mackie got what she wanted, and I'm happy I was able to help her, and I know it was the right thing to do. But I still can't shake the feeling that I've lost her. The weirdness from that pregnancy has fallen away, but the babies did change everything."
For more thoughts on "Get Lucky," check out these stops on the 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
Tuesday, April 20th: The 3 R’s Blog
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
And for more information on Katherine Center and her work, check out Thanks to Trish and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!


  1. What a beautiful review! I have been reading a lot about this book lately and think that although chick-lit is not usually my thing, this book sounds like so much more than that. I really liked the excerpts you provided from the book and think that your review has just pushed me over the edge to try the book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

  2. Wow, stories like this make me glad my life is boring! :--) Sounds fun!

  3. This was my first experience with Katherine Center's work and I loved it too. Your review is fantastic!

  4. Fantastic review Lisa! I just loved this book as well. Katherine Center has really become a favorite of mine. I enjoy her characters and writing style.

  5. I loved your thoughts on this one!!! I so must get my hands on a copy one of these days!!!

  6. That quote about sisters and best friends is quite accurate for me, I hadn't thought of it that way before.