Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

I love to read books that people suggest, that other people fell in love with, especially books that would never hit my radar. I have over 450 books on my shelves here at home to read, so I try not to venture out for additional books unless things really catch my eye. Too bad that so many things do catch my eye.

Ironically, I had no books for our reading group surprise prompt this month and this one was suggested. I happily jumped on it as I wanted something a little lighter and fun to read.

This Wasn’t the Book for Me

Unfortunately, this missed the mark for me. I just didn’t connect with the characters, none of them. Was this supposed to be a romance or just have romantic elements? Was this a generational story? Was this a starting-over story? It seemed like a little bit of a lot of things without a true path. 

The premise is fantastic, so much conflict within a close knit neighborhood, gentrification, “outsiders” trying to take over, coming into your own, etc. And maybe that was part of the problem? I don’t know.

The Characters

I can’t say I didn’t like the characters, I just didn’t know them enough to care.

One major flaw was that the main character comes home after her mother dies after not talking to her for seven years and the internal conflict of guilt/shame/anger/sadness wasn’t there. She was sad and missed her mom. That’s what it said on paper, but as a reader, it felt superficial. There was absolutely no depth to the character. The author told us how the main character felt, but I never felt those feelings alongside her.

Oh, and there’s magic. It shows up in weird spots at odd times and in ways that make you go “oh, okay, this is what we’re doing.” I’m a fan of magical realism and think it’s a fun addition when it’s done right. When it makes sense. When it adds depth and character to a story. In this book, it didn’t do any of those things. It was just there.

Overall, I REALLY struggled to push through this book and probably should have just DNF. It didn’t resonate with me and I gave it two stars.

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