Monday, December 12, 2011

Paula reviews My New American Life by Francine Prose

Title: My New American Life
Author: Francine Prose
Publisher: HarperCollins 2011
How I got it: My first win from GoodReads Giveaways.

Hmm what to say about this book. I won it back in April and finally got around to picking it up in September. I have been dragging my feet about writing the review because I just don't have much to say about the book....

Quick Synopsis: Lula is an Albanian woman living in New York and trying to get her green card. She manages to land a job as a nanny for the teenage son of Mister Stanley, a disillusioned Wall Street Executive. Life is going fine until one day a black SUV pulls up to her house and some Albanian "brothers" ask her to stash a gun for her.

Okay. My thoughts. Lula dear, when four guys arrive at your house looking sinister and you worry about who they are... DON'T LET THEM IN. When they ask you to stash a gun for you TELL THE COPS AFTER. When you feel like one of these guys is stalking you DON'T ENCOURAGE IT. Seriously half this book is her going "Oh no someone left me a creepy gift in my room... maybe he'll come back because he's oh so cute and dangerous" Excuse me, what?

My overall thoughts about this book are pretty lackluster. That's probably why it has taken me two months to come up with any sort of review. I felt like a lot of the story could have been avoided if Lula weren't stupid enough to let these guys in her house in the first place. Also, if she's in the process of applying for a green card there were so many things that she did in this book that she shouldn't have.

For the most part the characters were stereotypical shells. Alvo (the guy who may or may not be stalking her) is a dangerous Albanian gangster with a gold tooth. Really? Don is a slightly sleazy lawyer who hits on his clients (aka Lula). The one person I did like in the book was Zeke the teenage son of Mister Stanley. He was an endearing character. His relationship with Lula was one of the only ones that made sense. They clearly cared about each other in their own way. The few scenes that had Zeke in them (or in a rare case a whole chapter with him) were the most enjoyable parts of the book.

There is also a twist at the end. But again...lackluster - it didn't seem all that believable.
Overall 3 stars. And slight disappointment in my first Goodreads Giveaway.


  1. Huh. That's too bad. I hate when characters are doing things that go against their characterization... or forcing characters to go against common sense.

    Maybe the story could have been about her and the hot cop who she called after the asked to stash the gun :)

    The cover is pretty cool though. Good review :)

  2. Ooh this one sounds quite horrible actually. Too bad because the cover is cute... Have you read "Moonlight over Odessa"? Also about a woman who comes to USA to follow her dreams.

  3. From that cover what is inside is not at all what I expected! Too bad!

  4. Ah. I won this back then too. I haven't picked it up to read it yet... now I'm afraid to! Good review!

  5. Rats. I've admired Prose's earlier works, so I'm saddened to hear that this one falls flat. A Changed Man is brilliant, so if you're looking for Ms.Prose to redeem herself, I suggest that one!

  6. Laurie - I'll check out A Changed Man. From what I've heard she's a good writer - so I'll give her another shot, too bad I just started with a not so good book


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