I never really knew what a Hostel was before reading this book, since -as the author states- it’s not a very common thing here in the US. To me, the idea of people bunking together in shared rooms, dorm style, with complete strangers is not only a bizarre notion, but an intimidating (and frightening) one as well. But for outgoing and friendly Luanne Lusic, living in a hostel was an adventure- one that left her full of memories and stories.

After moving to Florida with hopes for a fresh start at a new career and life, Luanne checks into a hostel and begins her search for work, but as time wears on without any success, she takes up a job in the hostel cleaning rooms. The job gives her a unique perspective of the interesting lives of the people she is surrounded by on a daily basis, and she thrives among the ever-changing crowd, intrigued and excited by their life stories, their personalities, their similarities, and their differences. Her job begins to take off as she assumes more responsibilities, while at the same time, her heart soars with hope as she begins a relationship with a mysterious new man. But just as she thinks  she couldn’t be any happier, things begin to take a turn for the worse…

Let me start off by saying that I did enjoy this book. I’ve always been a fan of books that offer a sort of  perspective of different types of people, and what their lives are like. I love the kind of insight they offer, and find them interesting.  The author, Luanne Lusic, comes across as a very kind-hearted and likable person, who is trying very hard to find her own little slice of happiness in an unforgiving world. I love her spunk and her can-do, determined personality that shines through her story. She’s like that little engine that could, and I seriously can’t imagine the amount of guts it takes to pack up your life, move to a completely new state all by yourself and start from scratch. Unfortunately the book doesn’t fare so well in my estimation. From the beginning it feels disjointed and awkward, like a sort of sketch-up or a rough draft of different events that she wanted to include in the book, but there are no smooth transitions in between. The author flits from one seemingly unimportant event to the next without drawing some common thread throughout the story, and while I can understand this to a certain extent with a memoir, it didn’t take long for me to become a little bored with the story. I really wish the author had taken more time to discuss certain events in the book- why did she choose to include this specific event, what did it mean to her, did it change her perspective or line of thought in some way? And if not, perhaps it could have been left out of the book. I certainly don’t mean to say these things in a judgmental kind of way, but as the reader I couldn’t help but feel disengaged from the story several different times because of pieces I felt were perhaps unnecessary to the story, and I would have enjoyed a bit more guidance from the author at those places.

Bottom line, this is an interesting memoir of the author’s adventures working in a Florida hostel- it’s full of quirky characters, beautiful beaches, friendships, love, as well as the author’s bright hopes and haunting fears for the future- but it’s desperately in need of some editing.

Rating: 3 stars

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