“In the novel Penguin Luck, Doreen Lowe is a young, sophisticated junior associate in a small Manhattan law firm that primarily serves the lower echelons of society. Regularly visited by three ghosts, Doreen is forced to listen to their pleas that she "carry on for them"- after the Holocaust- all while balancing the demands of her career and personal life.
After Doreen marries a banker with an entrepreneurial spirit, he achieves his dream of establishing a telecommunications company. Within a few years, Doreen is serving as the company's legal counsel while simultaneously raising a son, but is still being tormented by her spirits. As the young couple rides out the tech boom of the late 1990s, Doreen must reconcile her unorthodox personal choices with her widowed father, her friends, and her large conscience.
Penguin Luck is a compelling tale about one woman's emotional journey as she learns to cope with a burdensome family history, a trio of determined ghosts, and the power of luck.”
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Release Date: August 6th, 2009
My Copy: Review copy
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We all have ghosts haunting us, being them the real thing or simply the past making itself known and giving us no peace. Doreen was born into a family full of survivors of the Holocaust. who she calls penguins, and has been aware of their many loses since she a kid.
From an early age she has been visited by three ghosts of children, relatives who died in the concentration camps. These ghosts have always been a very present part of her life and their goal has been to make sure Doreen does not stray from her course and marries a nice Jewish boy, so that the faith doesn’t get lost.
Penguin Luck follows Dorren’s life in a span of about 13 years and in all this time, starting in 1989, we see her try and get the best that life has given her and build her own luck.
When she meets Ty at a business meeting, her world turns upside down and after a while it is clear that all her previous plans, have gone out the window, much to her family’s chagrin.
From then on, we get to follow Doreen in dealing with the repercussions of marrying a man that is not of her family’s fate and all the problem that issue, we see her build her own family and her being haunted relentlessly by the ghosts of pains past.
Penguin Luck is a book about life, first and foremost. It’s not a romance and there is no action involved, unless you count the dealing of the Wall Street and Telecom boom of the 90s as action. However, Doreen’s story is a compelling one and even more so for me, I believe, because I’m Jewish as well and I understand a lot of where her family is coming from.
I often wonder about the future of Judaism and worry about the how much time has past since the world war 2 and I am afraid of the short term memory of the world. I fear forgetfulness and that it might bring a repeat of that horrible time.
Doreen’s family prejudice is understandable, they want her to marry a nice Jewish boy and have descendants, but life is not so black and white, not even gray. Life is full of color and because of its beauty, it is also unpredictable.
If Dorren’s ghosts were real or simply a manifestation of the past and family pressure, i don’t know, but we all have ghost, being them real or not and how we deal with them is what matters in the end.
I really enjoyed penguin luck, it really spoke to me a lot of the time, though I had problem with all the business side of Doreen’s life, I felt that it got too deep in that aspect.
Another problem for me was a certain lack of heart at times. There were a lot of moments where I just could have cried my eyes out or swoon over Doreen and Ty’s love, but it felt so technical, so pragmatic and even cold at times, that I had a lot of problem feeling it. Though towards the end I did shed tears along with Doreen.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Penguin Luck and I am happy I read it. It shows a realistic view of life, how we deal with loss, pain, family, love and how we move on and build our own life and luck with what we have.
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