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Oh My Stars  By  cover art

Oh My Stars

By: Lorna Landvik
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
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Publisher's Summary

I am convinced that at birth the cake is already baked. Nurture is the nuts or frosting, but if you're a spice cake, you're a spice cake, and nothing is going to change you into an angel food cake.

Tall, slender Violet Mathers is growing up in the Great Depression, which could just as well define her state of mind. Abandoned by her mother as a child, mistreated by her father, and teased by her schoolmates ("Hey, Olive Oyl, where's Popeye?"), the lonely girl finds solace in artistic pursuits. Only when she's hired by the town's sole feminist to work the night shift in the local thread factory does Violet come into her name, and bloom. Accepted by her co-workers, the teenager enters the happiest phase of her life, until a terrible accident causes her to retreat once again into her lonely shell.

Realizing that she has only one clear choice, Violet boards a bus heading west to California. But when the bus crashes in North Dakota, it seems that Fate is having another cruel laugh at Violet's expense. This time though, Violet laughs back. She and her fellow passengers are rescued by two men: Austin Sykes, whom Violet is certain is the blackest man to ever set foot on the North Dakota prairie, and Kjel Hedstrom, who inspires feelings Violet never before has felt. Kjel and Austin are musicians whose sound is like no other, and with pluck, verve, and wit, Violet becomes part of their quest to make a new kind of music together.

Oh My Stars is Lorna Landvik's most ambitious novel yet, with a cast of characters whose travails and triumphs you'll long remember. It is a tale of love and hope, bigotry and betrayal, loss and discovery, as Violet, who's always considered herself a minor character in her own life story, emerges as a heroine you'll laugh with, cry with, and, most important, cheer for all the way.

©2005 Lorna Landvik (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A playful and poignant narrative." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Oh My Stars

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing and emotional story with a happy ending

This book is quite different from Ms. Landvik's other stories, but I think it is one of her best. It will grab you from the beginning and keep you listening for hours. As the story moves back and forth in her life, you may find that you have many mixed opinions about the main character, Violet, but in the end you will cheer for her. Even a physically challenged, homely girl can have a charmed life! I loved this book and recommend it highly.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • W
  • 05-13-05

Very Slow

I usually like period dramas, but I had to give up listening to Oh My Stars about half way through. I just found that I disliked the character of Violet, and did not care what happened to her. I also didn't care for the whole 'band' scenario and would've preferred if Violet stayed in her hometown and worked out her issues rather than running away.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Fresh Appreciation for Life & the Hope It Holds

I have read this book six times and just finished listening to it for the first time. Hearing the story unfold through my ears gave me a whole new appreciation for its depth of theme (s), wit and prose. And of course its characters-from Violet, a battered, scorned and abandoned child who ultimately makes her own unlike family; to the beautiful, larger than life, womanizing Kjel. (Pronounced "Shell"). Kjel was obviously a man of sexual talents and appreciated women as an equal partner in life at all levels. So I can forgive the womanizing.

Then there is the lyrical Austin-my favorite-who lives his life with dignity and joy even as he experiences prejudice and discrimination every day.

I think some may dismiss the book as trivial and frivolous because of the Pearltones being a rock band before there was rock. I have seen scathing reviews on other sites demeaning this key part of the book. I think Ms. Landvik captures the "band life" well-And when a band has dedicated followers who are there for the music and the fellowship it brings.

Obviously I love the book. It is her best one-and I have read all but two of her books. Give it a try. You will be glad you did.

*side note-it took me a while to like the narrator. But by the end, I felt she did a great job with accents and characterization.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A Good listen from a great author

I thought "Oh My Stars" was very poinant and moving. There are lessons taught throughout this book that everyone needs to be reminded of. If you like Lorna Landvik you will love this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Poorly engineered detracted from story

I was surprised at the irregular splicing, especially when going to a new chapter. There was even one instance of some missing words or sentences when the speaking part suddenly jumped to an unrelated string of words. I replayed that part several times. Cassandra Campbell is a fine narrator, but in my opinion, this book would have lent itself well to having one male and one female voice as there were dozens of characters and it was hard to discern who was speaking at times, especially since the protagonist Violet had a low voice as specified many times in the book. These technical matters made listening challenging. It was kind of an interesting story that may be better in book form or perhaps re-done with better sound engineering.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book.

My favorite of hers. Her charactors are fully developed and real. Great book to make you apprecate your life.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Audio book didn't match Audible app

I very much enjoyed the story and the narration was excellent. However, the app showed 20 chapters, but the audio was actually 30 chapters. I often will stop playing a book at s chapter break, but could not because the timing and chapters were not in sync. Thus is the first time I've ever had this happen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

This was a great book. Throughly enjoyed it. Good story and characters. Uplifting and sad all at the same time. I would recommend this to a friend.