Friday, February 12, 2010

Book Review: Penguin Luck by Kay Mupetson

Book Review:  Penguin Luck by Kay Mupetson
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: (August 26, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1440160589
ISBN-13: 978-1440160585

Rating:  3/5
Source:  Review copy provided by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.

Book Blurb:
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.

My Review:
This was an interesting story of a woman breaking free from the expected path and following her heart. I really liked how Doreen felt she needed color in her life, while the expected path was black and white with only a few shades of gray. Then she meets Ty, who came to New York in search of color. How could she possibly resist?

The spirits mentioned in the blurb are actual spirits. The back of the book states that they are ghosts, so it won't be spoiling anything to reveal that Doreen has been living with the trio for years and they are not happy with her choices. I felt that they were a little unnecessary, but guess they symbolized the weight of her heritage or somesuch. I just found them annoying. Her father isn't too happy with his new son-in -law either, but Doreen believes that she made the right decision and has no regrets.

I kept forgetting that this book was set before the proliferation of cell phones, and wondered why on earth Ty would carry a beeper. Hasn't been that long since you had to hunt down a pay phone if you wanted to call someone away from home, so I was amused by how I'm now taking it for granted that everyone has a cell, including fictional characters! *L*

The penguin in the title refers to the affectionate nickname Doreen and her friends have given her parent's generation (as they sort of resemble penguins - short, balding, and waddle when they walk). Her parents, as well as her aunt and uncle, were all Holocaust survivors. Their lives, as well as their children's lives, were all shaped by this event. The ghosts are also from the Holocaust, and keep reminding Doreen that she has "obligations" as a child of survivors.

Gave this a 3/5 rating as I enjoyed the book, but did not love it. The writing was good and I had no complaints about the plot, but I felt that overall it needed a little more polish. This is Kay's first book and I think that she has a strong future, as the story was compelling. I loved Doreen and all of the people in her life. Could have done without the ghosts, but they were still interesting.


  1. Thank you for answering my first question...(which I didn't have to ask because you are just right on with your book ino)...where the title came from! I just couldn't figure out where the 'penguin' part was coming in...thanks for clearing that up. Anywho...sounds semi-interesting overall...not sure that I'd pick it up for myself, but I can think of a few that would. Thanks for sharing...and happy reading!

  2. Great review. sorry it wasn't a big win but it sounds like it fun. :-)

  3. Shannon - You're welcome! :-)

    GMR - That was one of my first questions as well - where are the penguins? *L*

  4. Sounds like a a fun book even if you didn't fall in love with it. The premise does sound like it has some promise, and not not all of us have cell phones.

    For some reason I just find them really, really annoying so when my last contract was up I chose not to renew it and I've been cell phone free for almost 10 months now. It's a really liberating feeling.

  5. I always wonder about those cell phones now too! Thanks for the review, I think I'll pass on this one.

  6. Marie - While I didn't love it, thought it was still a good read. I think a 3/5 is still a decent rating, and know that others have really enjoyed the book.

    Ryan - I know what you mean! I have a prepaid cell for emergencies, but no one has the number and I rarely use it. Still expect my fictional characters to have them though! *L*

    Pam - Funny how we take new technology for granted now. :)

  7. Jacob's Courage is a tender coming of age love story of two young adults living in Salzburg at the time when the Nazi war machine enters Austria. This historical novel presents accurate scenes and situations of Jews in ghettos and concentration camps, with particular attention to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. It explores the dazzling beauty of passionate love, powerful faith and enduring bravery in a lurid world where the innocent are brutally murdered. From desperate despair, to unforgettable moments of chaste beauty, Jacob’s Courage examines a constellation of emotions during a time of incomprehensible brutality.