What would you do if you won the lottery?
Buy a first class ticket around the world, buy a red sportscar, pay off the house, help out your family? Would you keep your win a secret, or tell everyone?
I felt as if I won the book lottery, when I selected Lottery by Patricia Wood. Lottery is a joyful, inspiring book with fantastic characters.
Perry L. Crandall, the main character in this novel, actually won the lottery, all twelve million dollars of it. In some ways, Perry actually won the lottery in more ways the one. He has/had the most wonderful grandparents in the world, he loves his work, he has dear friends and he is brave and wise.
Perry (I like to think if I really knew him we would be friends and I would call him ‘Per’ – the nickname is an inside joke which you will understand when you read Lottery yourself), is also an underdog. Perry has an IQ of 76, a no good mother and a pack of thieving cousin-brothers (who incidentally, are lawyers and accountants) who are out to rip him off any way they can.
The book starts by establishing Perry’s place in the world. He lives with Gram, works at Holsted’s Marine Supply and lives a happy, contented life. Perry’s closest friend is his workmate Keith, who lives on a boat called Diamond Girl. Perry is sweet on a girl called Cherry, who works at the Marina Handy Mart. Perry learns five words a day from the dictionary and saves half of all his earnings.
Perry’s life changes dramatically when Gram dies suddenly. His shonky brother-cousins sell Gram’s house and leave Perry homeless. Perry moves to the apartment above Holsted’s Marine Supplies and with some help from Keith and Gary, his boss, he learns to manage alone.
Then Perry wins the lottery and his greedy family descend. They spend the remainder of the book trying to get Perry to sign a Power of Attorney, in an attempt to steal his money. To get rid of them, Perry writes them cheques. Perry gives money away using cheques to everyone who asks, although his limit is five hundred dollars, because he can’t write small enough to make the amounts he gives away any bigger.
Perry and Keith take Gram’s ashes to Hawaii, as a visit was always on Gram’s list of things to do if she ever won the lottery. Perry also fixes the heater in Keith’s car and the motor on Diamond Girl with his winnings. Although Keith eventually accepts these gifts from Perry, he, Cherry and Gary are probably the only characters who don’t try to take advantage of Perry’s win.
Perry’s definitions are hilarious. For example, “Funny business is something bad and not at all funny.”
The end of the book is really satisfying. I won’t give away what Perry does here, but the last thing I would have done turned out to be the smart thing to do.
I love thinking about what I would do if I won the lottery (I don’t actually play, so my chances of winning are none). Did you know you are more likely to get hit by lightning than to win the lottery?
However, if I were to buy tickets and if I were to win the lottery, I would buy a holiday apartment on the beach for winter at Coolangatta in Queensland and a holiday house for summer in a particular little fishing village on the Great Ocean Road. I would spend my days walking on the beach, reading novels, baking biscuits and cakes and playing the piano. I would volunteer at the local primary school and read with children who need extra help. It makes sense to have a plan, just in case I win.