This week I read Lottery by Patricia Wood. I. Love. This. BOOK! But before I get to my review, here's a little blurb about the author:
Patricia Wood was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She has served in the US Army, worked as a Medical Technologist, been a horseback-riding instructor, and most recently taught marine science in a public high school working with high-risk students in Honolulu. Patricia is an avid SCUBA diver, has assisted with shark research, won the Hawaii State Jumper Championship with her horse Airborne and crewed in a 39-foot sailboat across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to San Francisco. Currently she is a PhD student at the University of Hawaii, focusing on education, disability and diversity. Lottery is inspired by her work, as well as by a number of events in her life, including her father winning the Washington State Lottery. She lives with her husband in Hawaii.
For those of you who know me because you've followed my blog for a long time, you can see right away that Patricia and I have a lot in common. Her work in education, especially with special needs students, influenced her writing of Lottery.
Gram's lessons prove appropriate as Perry wins the lottery soon after her death. Perry moves to the apartment over Holsted's Marine Supply where he's worked for many years. Gary, his boss, is good to him, and he gives him increased responsibility in the shop. Keith, one of his co-workers, has always treated Perry like a human being. He has been a great friend to Perry, and they spend quite a bit of time together. Another important person in Perry's life is Cherry, a spunky, "beautiful" convenience store clerk Perry has been crushing on for a long time. Perry is going to need the support of the good people in his life because the vultures are circling. Perry's family, mostly composed of attorneys, plan to "invest" the twelve million dollars Perry won in the Washington State Lottery by putting it in a family trust.
One of the things I love about the book is how each chapter begins with Perry's vocabulary words for the day. He has been working through the entire dictionary for years, and the words are a motif reflecting the action in the chapters. Another aspect about the book I appreciate is the POV. Told entirely from Perry's point of view, it is refreshing to see the world through Perry's eyes and language, and suddenly it becomes clear that intelligence does not always equal wisdom: Perry makes wise decisions and understands what's truly important in life. Plus, he's a gentleman and doesn't curse.
Sweet, funny, passionate, heartbreaking, and moving, Lottery will stay with me forever. This is a fantastic first novel, and I'm anxiously awaiting more from Patricia Wood.
What have you been reading lately?
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