Saturday, April 11, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: "Lady Luck's Map of Vegas"

Lady Luck’s Map of Vegas
By Barbara Samuel
Copyright 2005
Ballantine Book Publishers
Adult Fiction

I just love a good road trip. Driving along, listening to my tunes, taking the time to stop and think. Something about it is just so healing. And healing is exactly what the main character in “Lady Luck’s Map of Vegas” really needs.

India is a 40-year-old single woman who is dealing with some interesting issues in life. And faced with what could be the biggest decision she’ll ever have to make, she and her mother head out on a road trip to find India’s twin sister, Gypsy, who has disappeared again. Gypsy is schizophrenic, and although she is a brilliant artist, she sometimes goes off her medication and disappears. India and her mother, Eldora, are worried, but they manage to make it down Route 66 and check out all the usual stops that Gypsy makes when she is wandering.

That is the basic “sum up” of the book, I suppose. But it doesn’t even begin to touch the surface of what this book is really about. “Lady Luck’s Map of Vegas” is about past mistakes. It’s about forgiveness. It’s about letting go of fear. It’s about accepting the things you cannot change. It’s about love and loss and living life.

This story touched me on so many levels. Not only is it set in two of my favorite cities (Colorado Springs and Las Vegas), but I feel like it was such an emotionally honest story about a family in crisis, a family that could easily be yours or mine. The characters were vividly written (and it didn’t hurt that there was an exquisitely attractive Irishman in the mix!) There are also moments in the book that are dark and terrible, and I appreciated that the book opened my eyes to the plight of families whose lives are affected by schizophrenia.

“Lady Luck’s Map of Vegas” is not the first book that I’ve read by Barbara Samuel, but it definitely won’t be the last. I highly recommend this one!

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