Reviewed by Claudia Robinson

“Although I knew very little about AnnMarie’s life prior to my arrival, what I did know was that in all of her 31 years, Marian had never touched her. There was no hugging, no hand holding, no back rubs when AnnMarie was scared or hurt. When she was sick Marian cared for her in the same manner in which she cared for the patients at Clark Fork Valley Hospital–with the knowledge of the skilled nurse she was, but as though AnnMarie was infected with some kind of transmittable disease.” – Lucky

Lucky doesn’t know very much about her past, except that she was left, abandoned, in a box as a baby. Rescued from certain death by the impenetrable, alcoholic and emotionally aloof Marian, and left in the hands of young AnnMarie, no more a child, herself, to be raised, Lucky’s formative years offer little more than comforting routine (school, chores and books), interspersed with the occasional visit to the woods and stream for peace and serenity.

When her sister/mother AnnMarie suddenly disappears, Lucky is left to fend for herself. Scared, even more lonely, and confused, Lucky continues to find solace in the books she and AnnMarie shared and the small clearing in the cottonwood trees they would find sanctuary in. Tom, Marian’s boyfriend, seems to have a penchant for young flesh, and with AnnMarie no longer around to torment, he turns his sights on the young, pretty Lucky, much to her dismay. Forced to hide from his unwanted advances, Lucky finds a modicum of comfort in new friends, Rika and Sean. New to the school, different, they befriend Lucky and take her under their wing, despite her oddities. For the first time, Lucky experiences joy and laughter and comfort, as well as love, unconventional, but welcome.

Unfortunately, Lucky’s bliss is short lived when Tom finally finds her and rapes her, leaving her pregnant and despised by Marian, who has discovered the truth about Tom but chooses Lucky to punish. Made a prisoner of her own home, Lucky is forced to give up everything and everyone she knows, and when she finally gives birth, Marian claims the baby to be stillborn, even though Lucky, in spite of being drugged, swears she heard her child cry.

Determined to escape, Lucky breaks free from her prison while Marian is at work, and runs away, once more, saved by friends Rika and Sean. When drugs become the only solace Lucky can find, her life once more turns upside down, and she finds herself alone, living only for her next fix, degrading herself, uncaring about herself or anyone else. It isn’t until Lucky is at death’s door that her true saviors come along, and readers are treated to a roller coaster ride of emotions, dreams, loss and love, and subsequent triumph of one young, very, very Lucky, young lady.

Sweet, tender, heartbreaking and whimsical, I Am Lucky Bird by Fleur Philips is a tale of life and all its dips, turns and nooks and crannies, choices and hope and friendships. Beautifully written, raw and dark in places, haunting and ethereal in others, I Am Lucky Bird will seduce the reader, capturing Lucky’s emotions perfectly, allowing them to share her horrors, her downfalls, her despair, as well as her healing, her rebirth and her success, as if she were a part of our family.

For anyone who has been in a dysfunctional family, or known one, for anyone who has seen the destruction of rape, abuse and drugs, and struggled for a light at the end of the tunnel, for anyone desperate to see the good in human nature, I Am Lucky Bird will settle under the skin, and live there, and deliver a tale of strength and deliverance that is unique and beautiful, from page one, to it’s final word.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by BookSparksPR. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.