I’m not one for hyperbole but, my goodness, How Lucky by Will Leitch is one of most compelling and memorable books I’ve read in years. This is the kind of book that reminds you why you love to read, and why even after a not-so-good book you always go back for more. It made me think “man, I’m happy to be alive right now to be reading this”. Think Stefan from SNL when he says “this place has everything”..that’s this book. Kidnapping, sports, cougar moms, love, stoner friends, high-speed wheelchair driving, and that thing where you fall in love with this f*cking book.
Set in college town Athens, Georgia, this is the story of an unlikely hero named Daniel, a wheelchair bound 26-year-old who witnesses the kidnapping of Ai-Chin, a young Chinese student. Despite fighting the monster that is his progressive and debilitating disease, he still cares deeply for others who are victims of a different kind of monster: crime, cruelty, circumstance, or just their station in life. And so begins an amateur crime sleuth mystery that will keep you up so late you’re late for work the next day (yep, that happened). With the help of the Internet and his friends, Daniel’s monotonous existence becomes a thriller. Where is Ai-Chin? Why is it taking so long for someone to care? Who has her?
While those questions will keep you reading, this is so much more than a crime thriller. James Patterson, this is not. It’s about friendship, acceptance, survival, and loneliness. It’s about how ethnic and disabled minorities are treated and perceived in society. Daniel does not want your pity, he doesn’t want you to talk to him like he’s stupid. Because he’s not. Stop underestimating him. Just because he needs help doesn’t mean he can’t be of help and a contributing member of society. And despite having been given a raw deal, while enduring so much heartache, Daniel’s still so optimistic. He reminds you how lucky we are to be here. How lucky we are to have one another. How lucky we are to walk. Be able to feed ourselves. Breathe on our own. This doesn’t mean he isn’t realistic, because he doesn’t mince words about death, or the brutality of football, or the fact that his balls need to be cleaned by someone else. Ahhh, what a breath of fresh air Daniel was.
The rest of the characters were just as wonderful. Daniel’s boisterous and non-judgmental best friend, Travis. His devoted and overworked Pakistani nurse, Marjani. His -catching-up-on-all-the-sex-I’ve-missed- globetrotting mother. I loved them all. No matter how little or how much they were in this beautiful novel, they shaped Daniel and his story into something truly unforgettable.
What else can I say? Read. This. Book.
Rating: 5/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Dream Cast: 🎥 🍿
Daniel: Josh Hutcherson
Travis: Anthony Ramos
Margani: Shaista Lodhi
Mom: Jennifer Garner
Ai-Chin: Chloe Bennet
Jonathan: Ezra Miller