|This is a funny and sometimes sad novel about the life, adventures, and misadventures of Lucy Jones, a bright and well
intentioned young woman of strong convictions. Lucy tells the story in her own words from the ages of seventeen through
thirty-seven, maturing considerably during the two decades. One constant is her sustaining interest--actually a fixation--on
the American political scene and how it relates to her own sense of right and wrong, truth and justice, and how life should be.
The author weaves political events into personal events in Lucy's life as the story unfolds from 1988 through 2008 and Lucy
grows from insecure high school girl to independent, self-confident adult. Judgmental to a fault as a young person, she learns
that life is messy and complicated and preconceptions often handicap. Accidents happen. People are kind and cruel, get sick
and sometimes die, have love affairs, are often rejected; elections are lost, sometimes unfairly, and won. Politicians and people
may show promise, raising hopes, but often disappoint in the end.
|Lucy finds love along the way, but not quite as she had envisioned it at the start. Monty is the high school heartthrob and hero
with "big green eyes framed by long lashes . . . warm smile . . . easy confidence" who rescues her from a bully. They connect
and disconnect over the years. Meanwhile, both have other relationships--some serious. Still single in her early thirties, Lucy is
in a new relationship, verging on marriage, but, dissatisfied with the trajectory of her life, leaves it and quits her job to attend
graduate school. This is a brave move, risking everything, with an uncertain outcome.
|Where does it all go?
You'll have to read the book to find out. It would not be a spoiler to reveal that Monty--having survived his own trials, including
a bout of malaria in Africa--reenters the picture and eventually helps Lucy deal with a surprise other than the November
Surprise of the book's title.
|Lucy's voice is always compelling, never boring. I was also impressed by the author's fine sense of the feelings, concerns,
styles, and other details of each generation--music, clothing, TV shows and commercials, prevailing tastes, and so forth.
|---Henry Simpson, Goodreads, Oct 29, 2012