Perry L. Crandall has an IQ of 76. He is not retarded. In his own words, “You have to have an IQ number less than 75 to be retarded.” But, Perry is a slow learner. He lives with his Gram, who had provided him with excellent coping skills. Perry works at Holsted’s Marine Supply, and spends time with his friend Keith. All in all, it is a good life.
Then Gram dies. Unsure what to do, Perry continues to follow his regular routine – including buying lottery tickets. He hits the jackpot, winning twelve million dollars in the Washington State Lottery.
This is where the trouble starts. His brothers, who sold his home out from under him when Gram died, attempt to have him sign over his money. His mother, who has little to do with him, calls requesting money. Total strangers write letters addressed to “Lottery Winner” in an effort to score a few bucks.
In the end, Perry manages to live his life on his own turns. His decisions may not make sense to the rest of us, but for Perry L. Crandall they make all the sense in the world.
I thoroughly enjoyed the character of Perry. As a special education teacher, his actions and behaviors ring true. From his obsession with the dictionary to his insistence that he is “not retarded,” Perry is a believable and intriguing personality.
The characters that surround Perry are all too real in their selfishness. Who hasn’t heard stories of ‘relatives’ coming out of the woodwork when a lottery winner’s name is announced? Although these characters get their ‘just desserts’ in the end, I waited throughout the story for someone to finally stand up to them.
I was slightly disappointed in the ending. While satisfying, it seemed too neat and well-packaged. I would have liked a little more detail when dealing with the brothers’ downfall.
All things considered, I found this to be a very enjoyable novel. I recommend it whole-heartedly.