My mind works very quickly – it always has – so the first thing I had to do when I started reading “Lottery” was slow down. Perry L. Crandall is not retarded, but he is slow and you need to take your foot off the accelerator to appreciate his view of the world. Life doesn’t rush at or by him at breakneck speed. He has a routine and he sticks with it. He knows himself and is comfortable with his regular schedule. And he is surrounded by people who love and care for him.
His Gram is his rock. She raised him and instilled in him structure and common sense most people lack. She teaches him who to trust, to love words and to believe in himself. When she dies, his friends Keith and Gary step in to watch out for him and Cherry, the clerk at the Handy Mart, treats him kindly and respectfully even though her life is no picnic.
When he wins the lottery the vultures – especially his family – come buzzing overhead. Perry, who was previously invisible, is suddenly the target of some really heinous people. The fight between the good and evil people in Perry’s life, the fight to protect him and his assets versus stealing them becomes center stage for everyone – except Perry. Perry has a routine and he is a good person and he is NOT retarded.
Pat creates portraits of these people and situations that draw you in and make you feel part of the story. When Perry is surrounded by his family, you want to shout for Keith and Gary to come rescue him. You want to call the police and report his horrible relatives for the schemes they are hatching. When Perry is with his friends, you feel the sweetness and kindness. You realize this is his TRUE family – his family by choice.
The book is easy to read and the story is powerful. While the resolution is not what you would expect, it is perfect for Perry. My favorite lines are on page 302 when Perry says, “I have always had what I wanted. Love. I have always had love.” Perry L. Crandall is a very lucky man and I feel privileged to share a part of his story.
Great job, Pat!