Being the sole witness to a crime proves complicated in this funny, heartwarming story of a hero hiding in plain sight.
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Why I love it
Author, Nothing to See Here
I love novels where the voice immediately disarms me, as if we already know each other—characters who at first aren’t even sure what’s so special about their story, but from those first lines, you know that you need to hear it. In How Lucky, Daniel has that same magic. It’s in the way he tells you, “My life is not a thriller,” and then, in a voice tinged with both pain and hopefulness, he lays out something that sure sounds like a thriller, but maybe not in the way we’ve heard it before.
Daniel considers himself to have a pretty great life: good friends, a steady job, a love of college football. He also has spinal muscular atrophy, which means he must use a wheelchair, cannot move his extremities, and speaks mostly through a voice generator box. He’s incredibly observant of the world around him, and this crystallizes in the moment he sees a young woman get into a car and disappear—making him the sole eye-witness to a potential crime he might just be the only person who can solve.
To echo Daniel, this book is not a thriller. But it is a propulsive story about one unforgettable protagonist I would have followed through any plot line. In a story that knows how bad this world can be, How Lucky offers a hard-earned hopefulness. It refuses to be easy, to give in, as if Leitch and his narrator are doing all that they can to tell us that there are reasons to live in this world, to hold on, to search for something meaningful.
Daniel leads a rich life in the university town of Athens, Georgia. He’s got a couple close friends, a steady paycheck working for a regional airline, and of course, for a few glorious days each Fall, college football tailgates. He considers himself to be a mostly lucky guy—despite the fact that he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child, one that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair.
Largely confined to his home, Daniel spends the hours he’s not online communicating with irate air travelers observing his neighborhood from his front porch. One young woman passes by so frequently that spotting her out the window has almost become part of his daily routine. Until the day he’s almost sure he sees her being kidnapped.
How Lucky is the unforgettable story of a fiercely resilient young man grappling with a physical disability, and his efforts to solve a mystery unfolding right outside his door.