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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns

by Elizabeth Leiknes

From the author's website: "Eleven-year-old Lucy Burns writes and mails a letter to “Whom it may concern” to save her sister’s life. Overnight, the sister miraculously recovers, and “He” comes to collect. Nineteen years later, Lucy has had all she can take of doing the Devil’s dirty work--luring evil people to their demise. She’s granted wishes every birthday--beauty and agelessness, among them--but never the one’s she really wants: a normal life, friends, love, and a family of her own.

Lucy wants out of her seemingly binding contract, and, oddly enough, her long-time musical idol, Teddy Nightingale, helps her figure out how she can do just that. But it’s not easy, and a lot of things hang in the balance. If she does what she needs to get out of her deal with the Devil, she’ll be able to have a real loving relationship, live her life in the open instead of in hiding, and see her sister and family--but there are bad consequences tied to that decision as well. Lucy must decide what is evil and what is good, what is right and what is wrong, and if, in the end, there’s ever any way to truly know."

I wanted to like this quirky book with a devilish, but likeable main character, but in the end, I really didn't care for it.

There was a big stumbling block for me early on in the book - I just couldn't buy into the main concept. A young, albeit mischievous, girl writes a pleading letter in behalf of her dying sister and who answers it but the devil, Himself. I realize the book is suppose to be light and humorous and not a treatise on good vs. evil, but still . . . I needed the protagonist to 'know' what she was doing. I guess that did come a little later in the book when she tried to turn the Devil down and her sister was hit by a truck and at death's door again. By then she really didn't have a choice. I guess what bothers me the most is that the devil could take possession of the soul of someone so young, innocent and unknowing.

The other problem I had was the crudeness. I know the title should have warned me, but the write-up made it sound like a sweet, naive girl was going to wrangle her way out of a contract with the devil. (Okay, so I'm the naive one!)

I do need to say that I think most people would really enjoy this book. I think the problem is with me more than with the book. I did like that even though Lucy enjoyed her yearly birthday gifts from the Devil of a drop-dead gorgeous body, agelessness, energy, etc. that over time she realized that these did not bring happiness. It was her desire for love, lasting friendships, family and a 'normal' life that caused her to look for a loop-hole in her contract with the Devil. And it cheers the heart to know that she won. A lesson for the rest of us that we can beat the Devil, too.

11 comments:

Framed said...

Darn, it would have been so much better the way you imagined it. At least, it's a book I won't be adding to my TBR list. That's a plus.

Beverooni said...

I'm really glad you reviewed this book for us because I saw it the other day and was thinking about buying it. Glad I didn't.

Amy said...

oh, too bad! The concept is interesting, too bad it didn't deliver.

Kailana said...

Too bad you didn't like it. The description does make it look promising!

dcampbell said...

I'm uncertain that the reviewer actually finished this novel. I viewed it as a modern-day morality tale and really loved it. Young Lucy Burns is not nearly as innocent as the reviewer suggests. Don’t give up on this book on the reviewer’s account. Give it a chance--it's really fantastic!

Booklogged said...

As always, I appreciate your comments. I agree with dcampbell - don't give up on this book because of my review. I did finish the book and I did appreciate the modern-day morality. I just don't see why a story that helps us see the advantages of a 'good' life needs to contaminate our mind with gross scenes.

Staci said...

I deleted my first response because I'm a dummy!! Anyway let's try this again. I hadn't heard of this book until your review and I appreciate your honesty in how you really felt about this one. I would think twice before I invested precious reading time into it, so I thank you!! :)

CoversGirl said...

I'm going to take the opposite view and add it to my list of books to look for at the library. It sounds like a fun read, and I don't think your stumbling blocks would trouble me much.

Anonymous said...

I think it's much more believable that a child would not realize what they were doing.

Booklogged said...

Staci, I do silly things like that all the time. No worries!

CoversGirl, I'm glad you're going to give it a try. I think there are lots of people who will enjoy it.

Anonymous, it is believable that a child would do something without realizing the long-term effects. What I hope is that such a child could not so easily enter into a contract with the devil.

Anonymous said...

Liz Leiknes remains one of my favorite teachers of all time. Can't wait to read this book!