Monday, January 25, 2010

“Lottery” by Patricia Wood; a review

Lottery is a piece of fiction, and the main character is Perry, a young adult who is “slow” , but quick to add that his IQ is (barely) in the “normal” range. The book explores what happens when Perry wins the state lottery. When reading the book’s back cover, the statement that Perry’s Grandmother had taught him who to trust raised my hopes that I would be learning a few good ideas. That expectation was rather unrealistic, and it turned out, unfounded as well.
The book is positive in its view of the mentally-impaired, and points out very vividly their potential vulnerability. Perry mourns, struggles, and experiences joy as we all do. And as most good novels go, Mr. Perry Crandall wins his girlfriend by book’s end, and lives happily ever after.
What I found ironic was the fact that the ones Perry had to fear the most were his family (which is NOT normally the case), rather than his friends. And what I found unbelievable was the fact that all of his friends did NOT succumb to the easy task of fleecing Perry.
How many people with disabilities have friends who are really so trustworthy? It might make a good story, but as parents, we need to know that this is NOT the case. Those of us with children who have severe mental impairments, and who are leaving them money, need to set up a checks and balances system to help insure that the good of our child will stay the main concern of those who will help watch his money after our passing. The supposedly wise Grandmother, who knew the family, should have had safeguards in place to prevent the abduction of her home (after her death) from the intended recipient, Perry.
This story is cute, and can almost convince you of the good of most people. It gives voice and a very good view of the reality of sexual feelings (yet in a fairly mild way) of the intellectually disabled. Perry is a very well portrayed and believable character, as are indeed, most of the characters in the book.
[Note: This book is not suitable for most Chareidi readers due to sexual content, though mild.]


ORION said...

I address this on Dave's blog. I saw advantage being taken by both family members AND friends when I taught in a high risk situation. My point really was that if an individual has a mentor - whether friend OR relative -they are fortunate.
Lottery in many ways is a parable for how our society values money, beauty and intelligence. Often a deficit in one can be offset by an increase in another. You bring up an important issue as far as making sure a person is protected when their mentor is not there.
Much aloha to you!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Hi, thanks for joining the book club. Because I have worked so much in the area of abuse and disability, I find it difficult to trust anyone. I know that's wrong and I have to fight kneejerk reaction to people's motives. I loved Perry's grand mother, I thought she represented what's best in mentoring and support. I also liked the fact that he found some friendships - in unlikely places with unlikely people - wherein he had safe harbour. Thanks again for joining, you always add such an authentic voice of caring to your posts.

rickismom said...

Thanks to both of you for your comments. I ALSO liked Perry's grandmother. But the sad reality is that despite her good intentions, her apartment still did not go to Perry, which is VERY sobering....

ORION said...

yep...this is also a problem with the elderly when they are no longer able to manage their affairs- dishonest family members can raid their assets...and do!