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Dear Lucy: A Novel Paperback – April 22, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451625731
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451625738
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,474,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sarkissian’s bold debut novel features a unique protagonist, the affectionate and eccentric Lucy, a mentally challenged young girl sent to live on a farm after her mother is no longer able to care for her. Also living there is Samantha, a pregnant teenager who takes Lucy under her wing while Lucy waits to be reunited with her mother. Lucy is eager to please those around her and is fascinated with the idea of family, particularly with her hope of seeing Samantha together with the father of her baby. But Samantha has promised the baby to the farm’s owners, known as Mister and Missus. Interjections of Missus’ first-person narration slowly reveal a tormented past involving the loss of her adopted daughter years earlier. When the baby is born and Samantha has a change of heart, Lucy takes off on an unexpected journey to fulfill a promise to Samantha. Lucy’s dazzling stream of consciousness is heightened with elements of fantasy—she is accompanied and guided by a talking pet chicken—while Sarkissian tenderly depicts her characters’ frailties, fears, and desires. --Leah Strauss --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Dear Lucy introduces a young writer with a most original voice and a tenderly eccentric vision. Julie Sarkissian has created a boldly lyrical, suspenseful, and mysterious fictional world in this striking debut novel.” (Joyce Carol Oates)

"A childlike female narrator—strange but full of naïve wonder . . . comes of age in a timeless story of motherhood, family, and loss in rural America. . . . Heightened realism that mingles easily with flights of occasional fantasy." (WMagazine.com)

"A quirky but captivating debut." (Good Housekeeping)

“[A] captivating debut . . . a distinct voice that will hold up to the inevitable comparisons to Room and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” (PublishersWeekly.com)

“Sarkissian is a fine prose stylist, and the three voices in the novel are distinct. Her writing manages to be poetic without ever veering off into preciousness.” (AVClub.com)

“Every once and a while a new voice comes along that is so beautifully different from anything you've read before that it is hard to even dream up where it came from. Such is the voice of Lucy the title character in Julie Sarkissian's debut novel, Dear Lucy . . . Written in poetic prose, the novel's language sweeps you up from the first pages . . . Mysterious and haunting.” (PolicyMic.com)

An ambitious debut expresses different versions of maternal need through three female voices . . . a struggle for comprehension, memory and expression, lit with shafts of insight and fantasy. (Kirkus Reviews)

“Sarkissian’s bold debut novel features a unique protagonist . . . [her] dazzling stream of consciousness is heightened with elements of fantasy—she is accompanied and guided by a talking pet chicken—while Sarkissian tenderly depicts her characters’ frailties, fears, and desires.” (Booklist)

“An ambitious, complex novel offering themes about the fragility of life, love and being loved.” (ShelfAwareness.com)

“Julie Sarkissian has written the most original and stunning debut novel I have read in a long time. Dear Lucy is one of those rare delights that you cannot put down, and once you do, you can’t forget.” (Ann Hood New York Times bestselling author of The Red Thread and The Knitting Circle)

Dear Lucy is about keeping promises against huge odds. This gorgeous novel does exactly that: the opening pages promise transcendent writing, remarkable characters, and a slowly unfolding mystery. But what happened and why is only part of what keeps you reading . . . Both whimsical and profound, Dear Lucy wins your heart on the very first page and delivers it back, fuller and slightly cracked, on the last.” (Charlotte Rogan New York Times bestselling author of The Lifeboat)

"In Dear Lucy, Julie Sarkissian has accomplished what many veteran novelists never achieve: a startlingly original work that is also profound and wise in the vagaries of the heart. What an amazing debut." (Ron Rash New York Times bestselling author of Serena and The Cove)

"Julie Sarkissian has written a rare and precious novel - moving, captivating, and expertly written in a voice unlike any other. Dear Lucy is full of characters who are heartbreakingly human; full of hope, desperation, love and joy. You’ll want to linger over the poetry of each and every sentence, but the foreboding mystery looming on the horizon will keep you turning the pages of this hauntingly beautiful book." (Haley Tanner author of Vaclav and Lena)

“Hypnotic and mesmerizing. This is gothic noir that is full of heart and pathos. Lucy’s lyric voice comes barreling off the page, and you will be utterly transfixed by the twists and turns of her journey. Sarkissian is a brilliant young writer who has written one of the most memorable debut novels in recent years.” (Gabe Hudson author of Dear Mr. President)

“A story told in voices, all of which have compelling power.” (The Irish Examiner)

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Customer Reviews

Lucy did get back Samantha's baby, but how could she care for him?
Sally Wise
We enter Lucy's childlike mind and quickly love her, and empathize with her, yet without illusions.
Alice Post
I enjoyed the story as it was very well written and it is quite a thought provoking read.
JudyK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cathe VINE VOICE on April 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book was so unexpectedly good. The story starts out seemingly benign with a couple taking in two girls -- one with special needs and one an unwed mother. But as the book goes on, it just gets more disturbing and riveting that I really could not put it down. The author did a perfect job of dropping bombshells bit by bit so the whole situation just becomes increasingly twisted and intriguing. I very much enjoyed this and will be waiting for more from this author.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lucy is that old soul whom I love within minutes of starting this book. She touches her world with her heart and listens to the rhythms of her heart. But in my soul, I wonder if I would be able to see that gentle heart in real life. Her mother has sent her to live with Missus and Mister, because she could no longer cope with her. Now Mum mum is no one's idea of a perfect mother with her serial boyfriends and all night escapades. Lucy knows "sometimes people, they don't listen to you unless they are hurting." Her favorite method for this is hair pulling. And she will tell you her exact thoughts, as loud as it needs to be. And she can love the eggs on the chicken farm tightly.

Living on the farm is Samantha that has a baby inside her, and she loves Lucy. The author leads us slowly that something is "off". In alternating chapters the stories unroll. The writing is deft and the voices of Lucy and those around her add authenticity and depth to the story. The difficult musings of Lucy's thoughts are portrayed without reverting to cutesy or condensation. It is a lucid lovely book. And I still hope I am a person who would be able to see for the luminous creature she is if I were to meet her in real life, and I am sure I will never know for sure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lucy O'Finner on June 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book very unreal. Dysfunctional characters, including a talking chicken that was hidden in a child's pocket. The premise of the story was believable - wounded characters who bond together and understand each other, and gain strength from each other. However, as the story unwinds, the characters become more and more unbelievable and their circumstances more implausible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reflection on August 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is so well written. I loved the voice of Lucy. It was interesting being inside the head of this special needs child with a full-grown body. Her character will stay with me like an old friend. The story seems to take place in a timeless place, a fairytale with innocence and darkness like Hansel and Gretel. Beautifully done and captivating--I couldn't put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tania on July 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
the dirt that was underneath the car chases behind. the dirt doesn't want to be left behind. it liked the feeling of something touching it from above. it doesn't want that feeling to leave. But just because you want a thing to be yours doesn't mean it stops being able to leave.

3.5 stars. Dear Lucy started a bit slow, and it took me two or three chapters to get used to Lucy's unique voice. But once I got into it, I thought the author did an amazing job of getting us inside the head of a mentally challenged grown up girl. Lucy is mostly a good girl, but every now and again, when things don't go her way or she does not understand what is happening in the world around her, she gets stuck. And for me these descriptions of what is happening in her brain while she gets stuck is the best part of the book. I thought this was done even better than The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The story is not only about Lucy's voice though it looks at relationships gone wrong between mothers and daughters. Firstly we meet Lucy, whose mother has problems dealing with her special needs, and who abandons her. Secondly, we are introduced to Missus, who can't bear children, and who becomes obsessed with giving her husband a boy. Samantha has given up her baby for adoption, and now has to deal with the consequences. As you can gather this is not an easy story, but I thought it was done brilliantly. I can't wait to see what Julie Sarkissian will do next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JudyK on June 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was interesting, however I personally felt I had a few questions still unanswered and the ending left me hanging to a certain extent. I suppose it poses the question - who was the "normal" one really ? I enjoyed the story as it was very well written and it is quite a thought provoking read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By April S. Tomminelli on June 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The author takes you on fascinating journey in the minds of the characters and through the challenges and victories of what the character's lives brings. The story kept me going and wanting to read more, definitely a page turner. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lavers on April 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It's a real testament to how much I loved this book that I couldn't even begin to write my review until a few days after I had finished it. I needed time to let the book sit, to let it breathe. I needed to mull over the story I had read, contemplate the characters. Honestly, it's what all reading should be like. Unfortunately, I've had a rough couple of weeks here at Cozy Little Book Journal and I've been reading far too many books that have left me feeling flat, discouraged or just plain annoyed. Thank goodness for Julie Sarkissian!

Dear Lucy is a story told in a series of first-person narratives, primarily from three characters: Lucy, a developmentally challenged teenager who is sent to live on a farm when her mother finds her overwhelming; Samantha, a pregnant teen with few confidants; and Missus, one half of the mysterious couple who runs the farm. Each character tells her version of events, but each has difficulty judging her situation objectively (don't we all?).

I fell in love with the character of Lucy instantly. She is sweet and sincere and her narrative voice is fully realized and believable. The comparisons to Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time are warranted. As Lucy struggles to please the people in her life, the reader is able to decode the signals that Lucy isn't. Namely, that her mother ("Mum mum") may not be up to the task of raising a child--with or without special needs--that Samantha isn't being completely honest with her about the father of her baby, and that Lucy's trust in people is often misplaced. In fact, Lucy's naïveté often made me feel tense as I was reading, so convinced was I that something awful was bound to happen to her at any moment.
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