Guest Post/Review: I am Lucky Bird by Fleur Philips

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Everything that happens in life happens for a reason…

Guest Post By Fleur Philips

Each time I’m asked the question regarding how I came up with the idea for I Am Lucky Bird, I have to go back some years and try and remember. And each time I do, I discover another moment that assisted me in the development of the book.

One of the major themes in I Am Lucky Bird is that everything that happens in life happens for a reason. Marian even tells Lucky this not long after AnnMarie’s disappearance. In my own life, I firmly believe this to be true. There are no accidents.

I’ve had a fascination about this concept for years. I heard a story once about an 11-year-old boy who left his house and jumped on his bike to go down the street to play with a friend. As he veered around the corner, he was hit head-on by a truck and was killed instantly. When his mother was later interviewed, she said she’d called out to the boy just before he ran out the door, telling him to come back and grab his coat off the chair in the kitchen. He responded saying he didn’t need it. If he’d gone back to get his jacket, he would have saved himself a minute, or even just a few seconds, but maybe enough time to allow the truck to pass that deadly spot.

I remember thinking to myself, if he’d only just gone back to get his jacket, he’d be alive today. His parents wouldn’t be grieving over the loss of their son. It’s these kinds of stories that make me believe there are no accidents in life. There’s not always an explanation. And in the case of the boy in the story above, the things that happen to us are not always good. But for me, by believing we have no control of our destiny—that we can only tweak it a bit in the choices we make about how we want to live our lives—I can draw some strength in knowing there’s a purpose to everything, even though we may never know what that purpose is.

For Lucky Bird, Marian’s words ring strong and true until the very end. Why did she stop to pet the mares on the other side of the fence? Why did she break her bedroom window when she did? And most notably, why did she choose to stand at the edge of the Clark Fork River on the very night Jason Colare was taking his dog for a walk?

As a writer, I have complete control of what happens to my characters. I’m the one who gets to choose whether the boy returns to the kitchen to retrieve his jacket, and it’s a wonderful feeling. But in the real world, life is a set of dominoes, and I believe the path in which those dominoes fall is already predetermined. We just have to have faith in that path, even when one of our dominoes tumbles off the edge of the table.

I am Lucky Bird by Fleur Philips

Genre:  Contemporary/ Dark Fiction

Publisher:  New Dawn Publishers

Links:  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

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.

 

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I rather liked I am Lucky Bird, although I thought the title was actually I am a lucky bird, so I was shocked to find out that the lucky bird was actually the name of the main character.  Lucky Bird has the life of nightmares.  She grew up without knowing real love and had to go through the worst life had to offer before she was given a reprieve.

When the book was dark, I enjoyed it.  When the book was hopeful and inspiring, I grew bored.  I think that my boredom was more linked to my taste of books then the quality of the book.  The narration was seamless and fast pace.  It was only when the POV shifts that I found something to complain about with I am Lucky Bird.  The shift into Marian’s POV near the end of the story only confirmed the obvious and the repetition of events bored me.  I don’t think that any of the alternative POV chapters were necessary and the whole book could of easily been told from Lucky’s POV.

There are quite a few disturbing happenings in this book that will offend the easily offended, but otherwise you will be like me…engrossed in the traumatic and dark but somehow entertaining life of Lucky Bird.  Fans of dark contemporary novels will enjoy this book.

(I received a copy of this book as part of the blog tour by BookSparksPR in exchange for my honest review.)

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.

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