I was enchanted by Away, so I was excited to find that Amy Bloom had another book out. This novel is good but does not live up to the other.
Eva Acton has not met her older half-sister Iris until Eva’s mother dumps her on the front porch of her father’s home. Up until then, Eva worshipped her father, but she begins to see that he has his flaws, a second family being a major one of them. Another is stealing the money Iris wins in talent competitions.
Once Iris has managed to hide enough money from her father, she and Eva take off for Hollywood, where Iris is determined to make it big. At that point, Eva’s formal education comes to a halt, when she is 14.
Iris is beginning to have some success when her chances are ruined by betrayal and scandal. The girls, their friend Francisco, and their father, who has joined them upon premature news of Iris’ success, set off for New York.
This Depression-era novel is written in a light, jaunty tone, narrated mostly from Eva’s point of view punctuated by letters. For after a lot has happened, the girls are eventually separated.
The conflict of the novel is around some choices Iris makes, causing Eva to take on responsibilities and struggles that Iris has initiated. Iris commits several unconscionable acts.
I cared about what would happen to Eva and some likable friends, but I felt that the end of the novel was too easy on Iris. I also felt that this novel lacked the originality of Away. It is interesting, though, because I was never sure what would happen next, and the narrative style has its charms.