on 14 August 2011
Much like Forget About It, With A Little Luck has an absolutely brilliant plot. I mean, come on! How many books have you read with an uber-superstitious heroine? I'm betting it's zero. I've certainly never read a book all about luck. I was immediately sucked in to Berry's story (BTW, I love her name). How can you not enjoy a book about someone who's so neurotic, but who's also so loveable with it? I don't know how Caprice does it, but despite all of Berry's neuroses and superstitions, she's not annoying. Despite feeling that good luck feeds bad luck and that she must avoid black cats, not step on a cracked pavement and always wear her lucky horseshoe necklace, or the world will end, Berry is surprisingly normal. In fact, I enjoyed her superstitions. I enjoyed how she saw life. Sure it was a bit skewered, something that's not exactly sustainable forever (otherwise a week or two in the nuthouse will indeed beckon), but Berry had her reasons for why she was like she was and I loved her for it.
With A Little Luck is set in and around a radio station, as Berry is a soft-rock DJ who ends up in a heated battle-of-the-sexes between herself and `Dr Love' (really, that's what his show was called) Ryan Riley culminating in their very own morning show. I loved their banter, their back-and-forth, the way they sparked off each other and the way it all just seemed so natural. Not many writers can make sparks like that seem natural rather than forced, but Berry and Ryan worked perfectly and I was a total sucker for their budding romance - though, because Ryan was the third boyfriend in a trio of bad boyfriends (believe me, the way bad boyfriend #1 turns out is hilarious, if... morbid, shall we say), Berry thought it would inevitably go bad. Normally with a female character as crazy/neurotic as Berry I would usually find myself getting annoyed and fed up with her antics, I didn't and I was totally on Berry's side for the entire novel. Even when she got a bit crazier than normal.
I thought the characters were excellent. Crane easily manages to make the characters so loveable and so warm and like people you'd like to know in real life. I adored Berry, from page one. This is a girl brought up by a dad who's a professional gambler and who sees her as his lucky charm. How the hell else is she meant to end up but crazy superstitious? (I don't think I've ever typed the word "superstitious" so many times.) So fearful that she'll forever have to live like that. Many people would question Berry's sanity or say she's too superstitious (although if you are going to be superstitious, it might as well be whole hog, right? There's no point in being half-superstitious, that's just crazy) but I liked it. It set the novel apart. It set Berry apart. I also loved Ryan. Loved him. Despite his radio alter-ego - what a name, Dr Love! - I still loved him. Unlike Berry's previous two bad boyfriends (total bozo's the pair of them, although perhaps Boyriend #1 wasn't so much a bozo; I suppose we'll never know...Sigh) he seemed totally perfect and totally hilarious and cool and all those other superlatives that should be attributed to leading men like Ryan Riley. There weren't many other characters who made up the novel - Berry's parents, Berry's best friend Natalie (she made me laugh), a few people at the station, but nobody who really took precedence over Berry and Ryan.
I loved every page of With A Little Luck. Caprice Crane is one of the most fresh and talented Chick Lit writers out there. Her books are always unique (and yes, I feel qualified to say that having only read two of her four novels) and her characters are ones you care about. Not to mention, she's genuinely funny. It's not all bluster, the quotes on her books aren't lying; Caprice Crane does make you laugh. I could see this movie on the big screen (and as a screen writer, Caprice would write it) because everything was there to make a brilliantly funny rom-com. I'd particularly LOVE to see that helicopter scene on the big screen - I almost died laughing. But, in all seriousness, it would make a great movie. A great battle-of-the-sexes with a lot of superstition thrown in. I can't wait to read Caprice's other two novels - A Family Affair and Stupid and Contagious) and I dearly, sincerely absolutely beggingly hope Caprice is working on novel #5. She's an author more people should be reading - you should be reading her. Yes. You. With A Little Luck was something special, it had it all; it was funny, it was romantic, it was sweet, it was charming. It's everything you ask for in a novel, really, and there was nothing I didn't like. It was, seriously, perfect.