Saturday, August 13, 2011

Last Chance at the Lost and Found by Marcia Finical

Publisher:              Bywater Books

Last Chance at the Lost and Found is about growing up. It’s about thinking that you want something at one point in your life and discovering that you’re not really ready for it until later, after you’ve had a chance to learn some things. It’s also about the power of friends and struggling through life without giving up when things get tough.

The story follows twenty-five years in the life of Bunny LaRue. Bunny is beautiful and has a body toned on the beaches of California, so she is a natural to be a model in a racy catalog playing the “bad girl.” She spends her days posing and her nights working her way through the women in the lesbian bars. Bunny appears to be a golden girl who can do no wrong until things begin to go off course. She loses her job and the woman she loves desperately rejects Bunny because she doesn’t seem to have a proper purpose in her life. 

Life just gets tougher as Bunny drifts in her personal and professional experiences without any sense of direction and comes to realize she is an alcoholic. The one constant in her life is her friend Michael who is always there to help her pick up the pieces, but, as she begins to turn her life around, Michael discovers he is HIV positive. Bunny struggles with Michael’s illness, her addiction and finally finding a career she’s good at, but she can’t escape the feeling that her life is hollow. When she gets another chance at love, Bunny gets to call on her life lessons to see if she is finally ready to make a relationship work.

Last Chance at the Lost and Found was the first winner of the annual Bywater Prize for Fiction and it’s easy to see why. This is a sophisticated and complex story. When it opens, Bunny LaRue is not a very attractive person. She lives too hard, is too self-centered and puts her own needs ahead of everyone else. It’s no wonder the woman she loves leaves her because it’s tempting for the reader to leave also. 

An important aspect about this novel though is to watch as Bunny transforms herself. Things don’t always go smoothly, but there is a sense that Bunny is learning from what happens to her, even negative events. It’s interesting to see her improve herself and her life as she grows with maturity and experience. The process will be very familiar to many women since they probably went through it themselves. By the end of the book, the reader will be pulling for Bunny to achieve what she is searching for, a meaningful relationship that brings love into her life.

Bywater Books appears to be a company that tries to produce books that don’t fit in the more usual mold of lesbian fiction. While telling a good story, the plots are often more complicated and thought provoking. It takes more effort to read these books because attention needs to be focused on what is happening. Last Chance at the Lost and Found certainly fits into that category. It’s well worth the time the reader will spend with the book.

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