professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Newbery musings

A few folks out there in listerv land have talked about not placing THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY on the shelf because of concern about some of the content. At first, I thought that some were concerned that Lucky was eavesdropping on some of the meetings of AA and GA and other 12 step programs and they thought that might be a bad example to kids. No, it turns out some are more concerned about a certain word in the first (and, interestingly, the last) chapter of this novel.

As the story opens, Lucky Trimble is sitting outside of the back wall of the Found Objects WindchIme Museum and Visitor Center listening (through a hole in the wall) to Short Sammy recount how he hit rock bottom to his fellow members of AA. His story is one Lucky loves to hear. As Sammy tells it, he knew he had hit rock bottom when his dog was bitten by a snake on the scrotum (there is the word) and Sammy is too drunk to help save him. Lucky cleans up after all the meetings (a funny piece here about how the cigarette butts left by the AA folks bother the Smokers Anonymous group and the candy they leave bothers another group, etc.). When she is not sweeping, she returns to live in her trailer with Brigitte, the ex-wife of Lucky's father. Brigitte is from France and has come to take care of Lucky after Lucky's mother is killed by stepping on a love electrical wire. Lucky as some unusual friends, including Miles the pesky young boy who loves for her to read him ARE YOU MY MOTHER?

As Lucky's story unfolds, we learn a great deal about her philosophy of life, her fears, her memories, and her interests. Susan Patron has woven a lovely story about finding one's place in life and about also finding one's higher power. Lucky and the other characters are more than endearing; they are memorable and contagious: the reader hates to see the end of their stories (and there will be more of Lucky's story in another book down the road).

What a shame that some folks would think of keeping readers from a book that will speak to them about issues we all worry about, even those of us much older than Lucky, Brigitte, and Miles.
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