Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates ("Hey, Olive Oyl, where's Popeye?"), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she's hired by the town's sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell.
Realizing that she has only one clear choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that Fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet's expense. This time though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, whom Violet is certain is the blackest man to ever set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet never before has felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve, and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together.
Oh My Stars is Lorna Landvik's most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you'll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery, as Violet, who's always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you'll laugh with, cry with, and, most important, cheer for all the way.
©2005 Lorna Landvik; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.
"A playful and poignant narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
This book is quite different from Ms. Landvik's other stories, but I think it is one of her best. It will grab you from the beginning and keep you listening for hours. As the story moves back and forth in her life, you may find that you have many mixed opinions about the main character, Violet, but in the end you will cheer for her. Even a physically challenged, homely girl can have a charmed life! I loved this book and recommend it highly.
I have read this book six times and just finished listening to it for the first time. Hearing the story unfold through my ears gave me a whole new appreciation for its depth of theme (s), wit and prose. And of course its characters-from Violet, a battered, scorned and abandoned child who ultimately makes her own unlike family; to the beautiful, larger than life, womanizing Kjel. (Pronounced "Shell"). Kjel was obviously a man of sexual talents and appreciated women as an equal partner in life at all levels. So I can forgive the womanizing.
Then there is the lyrical Austin-my favorite-who lives his life with dignity and joy even as he experiences prejudice and discrimination every day.
I think some may dismiss the book as trivial and frivolous because of the Pearltones being a rock band before there was rock. I have seen scathing reviews on other sites demeaning this key part of the book. I think Ms. Landvik captures the "band life" well-And when a band has dedicated followers who are there for the music and the fellowship it brings.
Obviously I love the book. It is her best one-and I have read all but two of her books. Give it a try. You will be glad you did.
*side note-it took me a while to like the narrator. But by the end, I felt she did a great job with accents and characterization.
I thought "Oh My Stars" was very poinant and moving. There are lessons taught throughout this book that everyone needs to be reminded of. If you like Lorna Landvik you will love this book.
I usually like period dramas, but I had to give up listening to Oh My Stars about half way through. I just found that I disliked the character of Violet, and did not care what happened to her. I also didn't care for the whole 'band' scenario and would've preferred if Violet stayed in her hometown and worked out her issues rather than running away.
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