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Summer of My Amazing Luck Audiobook, by Miriam Toews Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Miriam Toews Narrator: Amy Rutherford Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2018 ISBN: 9780735274648
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (795 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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A Novel by the Governor General’s Literary Award—winning author of A Complicated Kindness

Lucy Van Alstyne always thought she’d grow up to become a forest ranger. Instead, at the age of eighteen, she’s found herself with quite a different job title: Single Mother on the Dole. As for the father of her nine-month-old son, Dillinger, well…it could be any of number of guys.

At the Have-a-Life housing project–aptly nicknamed Half-a-Life by those who call it home–Lucy meets Lish, a zany and exuberant woman whose idea of fashion is a black beret with a big silver spider brooch stuck on it. Lish is the mother of four daughters, two by a man on welfare himself and twins from a one-week stand with a fire-eating busker who stole her heart–and her wallet.

Living on the dole isn’t a walk in the park for Lucy and Lish. Dinner almost always consists of noodles. Transportation means pushing a crappy stroller through the rain. Then there are the condescending welfare agents with their dreaded surprise inspections. And just across the street is Serenity Place, another housing project with which Half-a-Life is engaged in a full-on feud. When the women aren’t busy snitching on each other, they’re spreading rumours–or plotting elaborate acts of revenge.

In the middle of a mosquito-infested rainy season, Lish and Lucy decide to escape the craziness of Half-A-Life by taking to the road. In a van held together with coat-hangers and electrical tape and crammed to the hilt with kids and toys, they set off to Colorado in search Lish’s lost love and the father of her twins. Whether they’ll find him is questionable, but the down-and-out adventure helps Lucy realize that this just may be the summer of her amazing luck.

Miriam Toews’s debut novel, Summer of My Amazing Luck opens our eyes to a social class rarely captured in fiction. At once hilarious and heartbreaking, it is inhabited by an unforgettable and poignant group of characters. Shortlisted for both the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award and for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, it also earned Miriam the John Hirsch Award for the Most Promising Manitoba Writer. Download and start listening now!

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 2/20/2014

    " I guess I shouldn't have read _a complicated kindness_ first. But I've already started _Irma Voth_ which seems promising so far..... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth | 1/31/2014

    " Ultimately, this is a wittily written novel about closure and how desperately we need it, even though we may be reluctant to pursue it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 1/26/2014

    " So. I got half-way through this book and found that it wasn't really going anywhere. A lot of it was character development, and seemed to go on and on describing the daily life of these people living on "the dole". After we get a good idea of who each character is and what they're all about, it just seemed boring and as though it wasn't really going to go anywhere after that. I gave up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 1/26/2014

    " Bought this book solely on the cover reco from David Rakoff, who says, "Miriam Toews writes like an angel." I dunno if she writes like an angel, but this coming-of-age story about a young mother on the dole was a Good Read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise | 1/25/2014

    " I feel like I just spent a fun, fast-paced and interesting summer with a group of welfare mothers. I certainly learned a lot about the system and managing one's way through it. The characters were well developed and endearing. The Winnipeg setting and the road trip were enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 1/21/2014

    " What a great story and it was a wonderful first novel from a much beloved Canadian author! Following the lives of the women of Half-life as they like to call it is well-worth the read and it really makes the reader stop and think about life choices and how we look at those in our society that make certain choices for themselves. I really find that Miriam Toews always gets to the heart of the matter in her story-telling. She shows all sides of a situation. Readers are blessed with the best in narrative and description. You really want good things for the characters no matter what they may have done or not done in some cases. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peggyl | 1/17/2014

    " Another odd little book that takes you elsewhere. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sonya | 12/28/2013

    " I just couldn't get into this book. I returned it to the library without even finishing it. The story was character driven and though they are quirky, I didn't care about them and there wasn't enough plot to keep me engaged. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 T | 12/27/2013

    " Posted review at my blog "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LizG | 12/16/2013

    " Who knew one could live life on the dole and still have a sense of humour and a philisophical take on life. Brilliant premise, charmingly executed, and too short. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth | 12/5/2013

    " This novel is narrated by a young welfare mom in Canada. To me, her situation is sad, but she comes across as refreshing and funny through her daily escapades. I liked several of Toews's other works much better than this one, but it was still an interesting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Foxthyme | 12/3/2013

    " Her first novel, and it's still amazing even though not quite as polished as her later ones. Miriam has a way of creating flawed characters that allows you to love those characters long after the book is closed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorna | 5/4/2013

    " I love Lucy! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Magi | 10/29/2012

    " teen mom subsisting on the dole in Canada...during a mosquito filled summer. meeets other women living in projects. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ajs | 10/18/2012

    " Eye opening story about a young Winnipeg woman on "the dole". Makes you think twice about the people in our city! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rowan | 7/17/2012

    " interesting but slightly depressing subject matter: Canadian single mothers who are on public assistance. i liked the writing but the circumstances of the characters' lives depressed me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 6/7/2012

    " cool story, as usual nothing crazy happens but i just love love love the authors voice and her style.can't wait for irma voth "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rosie | 5/27/2012

    " OK time passer "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holly | 4/5/2012

    " This book is about Canadian welfare mothers and the community they build around themselves. I loved the kooky characters, but the book dragged a little in places. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 brie | 4/22/2011

    " This was a great, fairly easy read. It chronicles the lives of single mothers who are on welfare living in Canada. I found it fun and inspiring, especially as a new mom myself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Veronica | 4/11/2011

    " I enjoyed the characters in this novel but the plot is so intense and depressing that it took a long time to read. The women in "Have a Life" are constantly looking for a man, sex and trying to live adequately while on the dole. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nykea | 4/6/2011

    " More hilarious than tragic, but has elements of both (of course). Story of single welfare moms, quirky, likable characters.
    Good read, but not as enrapturing as some of her other novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ajs | 1/3/2011

    " Eye opening story about a young Winnipeg woman on "the dole". Makes you think twice about the people in our city! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 12/18/2010

    " Canadian teenage mother living on the dole in public housing. Really funny read. Author is compared to JD Salinger. I can see why. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 12/6/2010

    " if you have ever lived off the dole and/or in low income housing, you can relate to this book a little too well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth | 9/3/2010

    " Ultimately, this is a wittily written novel about closure and how desperately we need it, even though we may be reluctant to pursue it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Magi | 1/19/2010

    " teen mom subsisting on the dole in Canada...during a mosquito filled summer. meeets other women living in projects. "

About the Author

Author Miriam Toews

Miriam Toews is the recipient of numerous literary awards in Canada, including the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. In 2010 she received the prestigious Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for her body of work.