Tuesday, May 08, 2007
A Spoiler Free "Lottery" Review
Yes ladies and gents, I have finally finished the fabulous Lottery by our lovely Orion [aka Patricia Wood] (and by finally I don't mean, thank goodness it's all over, but simply that what with real life getting in the way and everything and all I really want to do is read the book, I have finally got the opportunity to). Now fear not. There shall be no spoilers. But just for fun, since I've always wanted to do it, I will make you highlight to read this next bit:
I have nothing really important to say here but thank you very much for indulging me. You are a fabulous person, and may I just add, look rather fetching today as well!
You may have heard, or may not, that Lottery is a pretty popular book already. There is tons of buzz on the Internet and in the book world about it (and I feel honoured to be contributing to the hype) and it isn't even out until August. And you may have already read one or two reviews on the subject. So you may be a little tired of all the accolades being handed Pat's way. And if you are you may not want to read any further. Because, well, because I am going to add to them.
First here's the little blurb about the book from Putnam:
Perry’s IQ is only 76, but he’s not stupid. His grandmother taught him everything he needs to know to survive: She taught him to write things down so he won’t forget them. She taught him to play the lottery every week. And most important, she taught him who to trust. When Gram dies, Perry is left orphaned and bereft at the age of 31. Then his weekly Washington State Lottery tickets wins him 12 million dollars, and he finds he has more family than he knows what to do with. Peopled with characters both wicked and heroic who leap off the pages, LOTTERY is a deeply satisfying, gorgeously rendered novel about trust, loyalty, and what distinguishes us as capable.
Lottery is an interesting book. On the surface, it's something that we've seen before. Plot wise: a lottery changes a man's life. Character wise: a not typically intelligent main character making very astute observations on human nature. But whatever, it isn't about what we see on the surface. It's the panache with which Patricia weaves the story together that makes this book unique, and the effortless and fearless way she writes her lovely MC, Perry, that touches your heart.
The plot is simple, a man with an IQ of 76 wins the lottery, and then all this "stuff" happens as a result. Yet the lottery in this book is less of a catalyst for the story, but more of a structure. Perry's life becomes different and yet stays oddly the same.
Perry refers to himself as an auditor, because he listens. As such we are introduced to some fabulously inventive characters, his friends, his boss, and his family, all of whom reveal themselves to the reader through Perry as a filter. The choices that Patricia makes in these characterisations are just wonderful, which make these characters seem more like people she has observed from afar, than creations of her own imagination.
The story itself, which I really don't want to elaborate on because, well, you should just read it yourself, is handled deftly by the author. In less capable hands it could have quite easily veered off into the sentimental. However with Patricia at the helm we never quite run aground. With Perry she is able to address what one could define as "issues", while still maintaining a slight emotional distance because of the man's own take on people and the world. This isn't to say that the story isn't affecting emotionally. Trust me there are a few tears that are shed for sure. But we feel things because Perry feels them, because we have grown to understand him so completely, and not because we are reading about something that is "sad". You cannot help but empathise with Perry.
I'm sorry I can't say much more. I don't even feel it is right to talk specifics about the secondary characters, whom I really loved, because it is far more fun for them to be revealed to you as you read. Needless to say this is a wonderful book, and well worth reading. Not that I have any doubt it will be a huge success, but don't read it because of that. No bandwagon jumping here. Read it because it's a lovely story that will move you, and make you very happy that you got to be a part of that world.
Anyway, thank you Pat so much for the ARC! I was very flattered to get one! Best of luck (not that you need it)!
As a side note, I had the pleasure to be interviewed in my capacity as an actress by a lovely young lady who calls herself Miss Erin. Do stop by her blog to check it out, and to just read some of her blog in general: Interview at "Backstage Musings"