The three primary themes of The Luck of Ginger Coffey are dreams versus reality, success and failure, and love. Ginger Coffey immigrates to Canada with his wife because he believes his failure to succeed as a reporter was due to the limitations in his homeland of Ireland. When he is faced with the cold hard truth in Canada that he just does not have the experience needed to fulfil his dreams, he has to come to grips with a new view of himself and a new understanding of reality: his dreams fail because reality is different from what he previously believed.
Tied to this is the theme of success and failure. Part of Ginger's acceptance of his new perception of himself and of reality comes from the realization of commonality with the vast number of people who never succeed either--who fail as he has failed. After Veronica returns unexpectedly at the moment of the humiliation of his greatest failure, his arrest, Ginger has to come to terms with what love is. He comes to understand that "love is a whole life" and that love is demonstrated by being with her because she needs him.