Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lottery: Great story about developmentally disabled man who wins the lottery

LotteryLottery by Patricia Wood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this story of a developmentally disabled man (Perry) who lives in Everett, WA, working at a boating supply store and living with his "gram." His parents abandoned him as a baby and his grandparents raised him.

His beloved gram dies, and he's on his own. He has a small circle of friends and coworkers, but no support from his blood-sucking family members. Then he wins the lottery. Suddenly everyone comes out of the woodwork, wants to be his friend, and needs his help.

The author, who lives on a sailboat off the coast of Oahu and is working toward her Ph.D. in disability studies, has some first-hand experience of lottery winners because her dad won the Washington lottery.

Perry hates it when people call him "retarded," because he beat the retarded level by 1 point. He prefers the term "slow."

When I was in high school, I knew a borderline mentally retarded boy named Hank. I couldn't get him out of my head while I was reading this book, and although I was never mean to kids who were different, I now regret that I wasn't nicer to Hank.

Sometimes being so close to "normal" is much more difficult for individuals to bear than being severely disabled...because they want so much to be like everyone else and clearly see their differences. This book humanely explored the world from Perry's perspective and beautifully displayed his humanity and intelligence.

Here is a quote from the book, which sums up this story:

"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius."

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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