This true story of survival, determination, and incredible luck will lift your spirits and inspire you to never give up on your dreams! Some people are born lucky. Others make their own luck. As a boy, Hank wanted nothing more than to fly like the fighter pilots he admires in the skies over Amsterdam. When the lives of Dutch citizens are turned upside down with the Nazi occupation of Holland, his dreams will have to wait as he witnesses the tragic unfolding of events affecting those around him before finding himself in a fight for his own life. He must go into hiding before his sixteenth birthday despite the fact that he is not Jewish. After the war, his life takes another unexpected turn when he is enlisted by his father in the American Army in Germany where his inability to speak English results in hilarious missteps at every turn. He can roll with the punches if the Army will teach him to fly, but when he learns that pilot training stopped with the end of the war, it seems he’ll never reach his goal. Undaunted, Private Hank evolves into a suave and popular soldier. He learns what it means to be American, arriving in America broke but determined to pursue his lofty goals in a manner only this quirky and very lucky Dutch-American would even think of trying, flying by the seat of his pants to some of the highest levels of aviation.
First lines: Whap! Startled, I awoke to a stinging, wet slap to my left arm. Slap! What is this torture? Another two blows in rapid succession caused a body spasm, my defensive reflexes too slow to protect myself. I’m alive?
Private Lucky comes out of the gate establishing a fascinating, hilarious and determined tone that catches the readers eye and doesn’t let go. Immediately we find that Hank is a man whose life is filled with adventure. His story is certainly worth telling and I warn you now, you will have trouble putting this book down.
Knowing what is to come, I found reading the pre-war Holland section difficult. Since this is the true story of a very real man’s life, the usual detachment I have as a reader was stripped and I cringed at the tales of Hank’s boyhood adventures. If only his life could have continued to be full of pranks and mooning over airplanes.
I can not imagine the surreal experience of witnessing your country being attacked and invaded must of felt like.
A sentence from this section of the book moved me to tears.
“I shut my mouth and tried to understand why the music was not beautiful”. This hit me hard. Thinking of Hank as a child at the cusp of all the horror that is to hit his and so many lives, I empathized how it would feel for him. He was just a child watching a parade who couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement. I think this section of the book fully embodies the sheer naivety of a child.
The book outlines pieces of the war and Hank’s experiences without focusing mainly on that time. The transitions throughout the book are well placed. I felt like Hank reminds the reader and maybe himself that some of those who suffered came out ahead and had more stories to tell. That one period of their lives doesn’t completely define them as a person.
As Hank ages we get to meet Hank of many hats. We have Hank the womanizer. Hank the soldier. Hank the pilot. With his transitional diploma his adventures take him far and wide.
Hank has lived and I believe most likely continues to lead a life to the fullest. Reading history through his eyes was a delightful, humorous and sometimes somber experience. I thank him for his honesty and I applaud Guzzetta for telling it.
My rating for this book is 5 stars.
The Technical Data:
Title: Private Lucky | Author(s): Melissa Guzzetta |Publisher: Good Luck Publishing / Publication Date: 09-23-2015 |Pages: 260 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0986403910 | Genre(s): Biographies & Memoirs | Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 | Date Read: 7-6-2016 |Source: Copy from author