Reading group reviews: Lucky Break by Esther Freud
13 May 2012 / 0 Comments
We gave reading groups and book clubs sets of Lucky Break by Esther Freud. Do use this page to post your reviews and see what other reading group members think of the book.
About the book
It is their first day at Drama Arts and the circle of huddled, nervous students are told in no uncertain terms that here, unlike at any other drama school, they will be taught to Act. To Be. To exist in their own world on the stage. But outside is the real world - a pitiless, alluring place in which each of them in their most fervent dreams, hopes to flourish and excel. Nell, insecure and dumpy, wonders if she will ever be cast as anything other than the maid. She'll never compete, she knows this, with the multitude of confident, long-legged beauties thronging the profession most notably Charlie, whose effortless ascendance is nothing less than she expects. While Dan, ambitious and serious, has his sights fixed on Hamlet, as well as on fiery, rebellious Jemma.
Over the following decade these young actors will grapple with haphazard tours, illogical auditions, unobtainable agents, deluxe caravans, rocky relationships and red-carpet premieres. This dazzling new novel from Esther Freud uncovers a world of ruthless ambition, uncertain alliances and the many-sided holy grail of Success.
About the author
Novelist Esther Freud was born in London in 1963, the daughter of the artist Lucian Freud. She trained as an actress at the Drama Centre and has appeared in and written for various productions for both stage and television. She is also co-founder with fellow actress and novelist, Kitty Aldridge, of the women's theatre company Norfolk Broads. Esther Freud was named as one of the 20 Best of Young British Novelists by Granta magazine in 1993.
Her debut novel, Hideous Kinky (1992), evokes the bohemian childhood of two young children accompanying their mother in her search for freedom and adventure in 1960s Morocco. The novel, which was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, was made into a film starring Kate Winslet. Freud's second novel, Peerless Flats (1993), set in London in the 1970s, is centred around Lisa, a teenage drama student who lives in a block of flats with her mother and five-year-old brother.
Gaglow (1997), shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction, is told by an out-of-work actress as she is painted by her artist father, and interwoven with the story of her German ancestors and their estate at Gaglow. Themes of family, step-family and childhood are again at the heart of The Wild, published in 2000. The Sea House (2003), is a love story set in a seaside village in Suffolk.
Esther Freud lives in London and Southwold, Suffolk.
No one in our book group liked the novel Lucky Break by Esther Freud. Briefly, it started off well but was more like a series of anecdotes than a novel. The characters had no distinct personalities so you could not relate to them. Too many clichés all with the usual stereotypes from the fat girl (Nell) to the hunk (Dan), all in all there were too many characters with too little action. Very Dull.
The story jumped around with no continuity. It felt like chunks of the book were missed out. It did not hold your attention; you had no empathy for the characters and consequently did not care about their fates. Perhaps it would translate to the big screen although has it already been done in Fame?
Hebburn Library Reading Group
We felt that the story was a bit self-indulgent and one member of the group said it had the feel of almost an autobiography and almost a novel but did not quite fit in with either. It would have been better, perhaps, either to have written it as a definitive autobiography or made more fictional, since the lines between them have been blurred and this made it less believable. This said, it was also thought that the book was well-written and enjoyable, amusing and a good general read.
Berkhamsted Reading Group
We very much enjoyed Lucky Break, finding it an interesting insight into the world of acting with some wonderfully engaging characters that we really felt we almost knew personally by the end of the novel. So much so, that I felt quite sad to finish the novel and wanted to continue reading about the characters lives and experiences.
Having previously enjoyed reading Hideous Kinky some years ago, we felt we would all enjoy reading further works by Freud and found this hugely enjoyable.
Southampton Reading Group
None of our book club found the book particularly good with several people failing to finish it or only finishing it because they felt they had to. Despite the glowing reviews on the cover we did not find it an amusing book and although some sections were quite entertaining it was a disappointment when we had been told to expect 'extremely funny'. The most common comment was that it was too disjointed and bitty. Those who did finish the book however felt that it was worth persevering with.
Usually our book club is split with some liking a book and others disliking it leading to lively discussions but sadly this book failed to engage anyone beyond a mild appreciation and many did not like it at all.
Calderdale Library Reading Group
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