Higher Power of Lucky
I’ve read better books, but I’ve certainly read worse. Also, I’ve read much more offensive books. I’m much more uncomfortable with passages mentioning alcoholics, dead beat dads and jailed mothers than the aforementioned scrotum passages.
Contrary to my previous assessment of Newbery books, Lucky is neither a minority or from the past. She is however poor and often sad. And the weird small town, dusty desert setting evokes an awful lot of past. Really, the only thing that suggests the present is the fact that her step-mom is taking a class on the internet.
Lucky is a girl, and what she really wants is to find her higher power, because she listens in on all the fill-in-the-blank anonymous meetings held in the town meeting hall. Surely there can’t be that many though, because the town’s population is 43. And, like almost every started plot line or personality quirk, it never really comes to fruition.
Lucky’s mom died, and her dad skipped town. Rather than own up to his life, he calls his first ex wife to come from France and take care of Lucky, the daughter of his second wife. After a bit, she actually adopts Lucky, and it’s obvious to everyone except Lucky that they’ve bonded and she’ll be her surrogate mother. Lucky, however, is a child and doesn’t understand things, and she’s just preparing for the day they send her off to some horrible orphanage in LA (because they live in some weird outlying area in southern Calif.). This is the cause of pretty much all of her turmoil. And it gets old quick, which is quite a feat since the book is only 130pgs.
Pretty much everyone in this book is a caricature and their random, bizarre personality traits never really lead anywhere. The best example is Lucky’s best friend.
Lucky’s best friend ties knots. He loves knots and what he wants more than anything is to get enough money to go to a knot convention in England. But we all know that’ll never happen because the town is dirt poor. Also in the beginning of the book he becomes the grammar police and puts a colon in the Slow Children at Play sign. Neither of these quirks lead anywhere. They both have good potential and just leave me completely unsatisfied.
And the book ends pretty predictably. Lucky gets a little smarter, and the bond between her and the step-mom and her and the town and the step-mom and the town grows.
It was a quick read, completely inoffensive for the 4-6th grade set, and not entirely unpleasant. I can see how kids would like the mini adventures, even if they lead nowhere. But, as the best children’s book written last year, we have a very sad state of children’s books.
Oh yes, and everyone in the town is poor enough that they get government issued food. Including strange cheese that neither shreds or melts. Who knew that still existed??