My name is Perry L. Crandall and I am not retarded.
This first sentence of the book grabbed me and didn't let go.
Wonderful characters, some you'll love, some you'll hate.
You'll be rooting for Perry L. Crandall all the way.
By far the best book I've read all year.
I grew up with a much-loved uncle like Perry -- "not the full quid" -- and consequently this book resonated deeply with me. The author did a fantastic job of capturing Perry's voice -- it was letter perfect both in language and values, deeply held. This is a joyous book and helps all us "normal" people see people like Perry as capable, contributing and functioning members of society. And who doesn't like to see an underdog triumphing against the odds? Read this book! It is a thing of beauty!
A young, mentally disabled man learns to navigate through life, when, after the death of his doting grandmother, he wins the state lottery. This book is a gem--sweet (without being sappy), humorous, and inspiring.
A Basic Overview
This book tells the story of Perry L. Crandall. (His grandmother tells him the L stands for "Lucky.") Perry has an IQ of 76 -- but he'll be the first to tell you that he "is not retarded." However, much of the world treats his as such. Most of his family has abandoned him except for his grandparents, who raise him. After the death of his grandfather, Perry lives with his grandmother, who does her best to teach him ways to protect himself--spend half, save half; write things down; learn your words; and trust only certain people. Perry has a job and a good friend Keith, who accepts him as he is. He fancies a girl named Cherry who works at the local mini-mart. But things take a turn for the worse when his grandmother dies -- leaving Perry to fend for himself. His family members swoop in and quickly ransack his life and essentially sell his home out from under him -- leaving him on his own to cope. Only Keith and his boss are willing to help Perry rebuild his life, and his family abandons him again. Then one day, Perry wins $12 million in the Washington State Lottery. Suddenly, his family is back -- circling like vultures. But his grandmother has taught him well, and Perry teaches them an important lesson: "Never underestimate Perry L. Crandall."
I think writing a book from the perspective of a mentally challenged person is difficult. Besides telling the story, the author faces the additional challenge of being true to the narrator's voice. I thought the author did a good job of balancing the childlike qualities inherent in Perry with the narrative elements needed to keep the story moving. For example, because Perry is treated as a simpleton by his family, they speak freely in front of him -- allowing him to recount their conversations and reveal their plans to the reader without Perry understanding what is going on. This device is used throughout the book, and I thought it was effective.
In addition, having the grandmother teach Perry to write things down is another device that allows the author to reveal critical information to the reader. Perry often reads the journals of his life that his grandmother created for him -- allowing the reader to get a glimpse of the family dynamics.
However, for the most part, the book is Perry's account of his life before and after his grandmother's death. As soon as he wins the lottery, I began feeling a sort of dread for him -- knowing that his family would be brutal in their attempts to wrest control of the lottery winnings away from him. One of my only quibbles with the book is that I felt the family members were just a little too black and white (with the possible exception of David who was a bit on the gray side) in their greed and evilness. And the sympathetic characters -- Keith, Cherry and Gary -- are perhaps a bit too nice and good (although the author gives Keith some definite issues to deal with). However, these are relatively minor issues overall.
I liked the choices the author made in the book. I felt she stayed true to Perry's character, and I was happy with the ways she chose to wrap up the story. The quote by Oscar Wilde that she uses at the start of the book -- "Ordinary riches can be stolen: real riches cannot" -- are perhaps the best summary of the basic message of this book. I think most readers will come away from this book feeling uplifted and satisfied.
About The Author
This was Patricia Wood's first novel. She is a Ph.D. student at the University of Hawaii, focusing on education, disability, and diversity. Her work inspired this novel -- as well as events in her life, including her father winning the Washington State Lottery. She lives with her husband on board a sailboat moored in Hawaii. (taken from the author's bio)
I was interested to read that the author's father had won the Washington State Lottery. This helped me to be more accepting of some of the details that happen when Perry wins the lottery, as I imagine many of them were taken from her father's experiences. Also, it makes sense that she lives on a sailboat as Perry works in a marine supply store and Keith lives on a sailboat. I always enjoy seeing the connections between an author's real life and their fiction. In addition, her son lives in Everett, Washington, which is the setting for the book.
This book was awesome! I could not put it down and have recommended to many of my friends. It is the story of a mentally challenged young man who lives with his grandmother as his family can't be bothered with him. He and his grandmother have a lot of little routines and playing the lottery is one of them. His grandmother dies, he wins the lottery and his whole life changes. Perry is such a great character. His insights on life are great - he sees things just the way they are. Very uplifting story. Looking forward to Patricia's next book.
A charming and totally engaging story about a young man, Perry, who's slow (don't call him "retarded" - that means having an IQ less than 75, and he scored 76) and how he makes his way through life before and after winning 12 million dollars in the state lottery. It's about family - his original family, a miserable group of conniving lawyers and their spouses, and his intentional family, made up of the grandparents who raised him, and the friends who loved him before he became rich and did their best to watch out for him afterwards. Perry may not be the smartest person, but he has great heart and a surprising amount of wisdom. Highly recommended!
I found this book to be very intriguing. It is written from Perry's point of view and it mimicks how his brain works (that of a lower functioning adult). It is a wonderful story of life, friendship and personal motivations. As I read the story, I thought to myself," If only people with "normal" IQ's could remember the things that Perry reminds himself every day, this world would be such a simplier place." This book is a must read.
I enjoyed this book very much. It was a quick read because it was written as if Perry, a mentally challenged man, was writing it. There is profanity but there is also so much humor and insightfulness. I rooted for Perry the whole way and loved when the people who would take advantage of him were thwarted.
I really enjoyed this book. It held my interest and the characters were likable. It is funny and touching.
Loved this book. Money is not nearly as important as love, frienship and family.
A very satisfying book about a man who wins the Washington State lottery. Perry has an IQ of 76. He was raised by his grandmother who taught him many things and who to trust. After she dies, he wins the lottery and now everyone is after his fortune. Perry knows who his friends are. I highly recommend this book.
Perry L. Crandall was abandoned at a young age by his parents and left in the care of his Grandparents. Perry has the IQ of 76 and has been raised with the routines of write things down so you will not forget them, everyday cleaning chores and buying a Lottery ticket every week. Perry works at Holsted's Marine Supply with Keith and Gary his boss. At the age of 31 finds himself alone after the death of his Gram and tries to makes sense of what happen and do his everyday routines. His routine of playing the Lottery every week pays off and he wins $12 million. Family start showing up wanting to help and friends step in to help. He finds his real family and friends.
LOVE this book. Great writing, great set up and truly enjoyed Perry being the narrator. I did not want this book to end.
Enjoyable story. Writing style creates a great visual of Perry L. Crandle's personality and abilities, but the finish is all a bit too tidy. Still worth reading though.
Easy to read and entertaining. It is about a young adult with a low IQ winning the Lottery and his family attempting to take advantage of the situation. I would recommend this book.
Not a bad story. Has a nice feel good ending. Not sure I liked all the F*** word references and fart comments but I suppose it's understanding from a different perspective.
I loved this book. It says a lot about how labels and intellectual numbers really don't matter. It's the person whose important. You've got to read this book. It was recommended to me by my co-workers and boy am I glad I listened to their recommendation.
This is a great story! It's well written and well read and you can't help but fall in love with the characters.
This book was marketed to be the latest "Forrest Gump" but I did not get the charm that Forrest Gump had from these pages. I found the writing boring, and I don't enjoy books with profanity, so I didn't read more then a dozen pages. I'm disappointed that I bought this new, normally I trust what my local independent bookstore reccommends.