Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In case your plans to win the lottery don't pan out

Have you ever wondered what life would be like after winning the lottery?  I know I enjoy a good game of wishful thinking... I've probably played the "What if I win the lottery?" game at least a hundred times more than I've played the actual lottery.  Apparently I'm not alone in my fascination with how sudden wealth would change a life.  It's a topic that's ripe for writers...and they've noticed.

A few months ago, I read Lottery by Patricia Wood. It tells the story of Perry L. Crandall, who is (as he repeatedly asserts) not retarded.  His IQ is 76, one point higher than that cut-off.  He reads like the Forrest Gump of the Pacific Northwest, but with a bit more nuance.  Perry's family largely ignores him after cheating him of his inheritance from his caretaker-grandmother -- until he wins $12 million in the Washington State Lottery, that is.  Lottery is an interesting look at the impact of a lottery win on the people around the winner and their relationship with the winner as well as the improbable fortune of Perry.   

A few days ago, I picked up the book Molly's Millions, a chick lit story in which broke British florist Molly Bailey wins £4.2 million the first time she ever buys a lottery ticket.  She soon realizes that she must give away the money quickly before the cheapskate men in her family take control.  As she drives around the country secretly sharing her newfound wealth, a down-on-his-luck journalist tries to track her down.  It's a fun, light book that put a smile on my face. 

If neither of these titles grabs your interest, but you like the idea of reading about winning the lottery, there are plenty of others.  Check out these novels about lottery winners -- they range from the suspenseful (Linda Howard's Burn, for example) to the funny (Carl Hiaasen's Lucky You) to the frothy (Good Luck by Whitney Gaskill), with many in between.  So, in case your plans to win the lottery don't pan out, you can at least read about the lives of those who do.  (And if they do pan out, well...have I mentioned how nice you look today?)

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