Monday, August 22, 2016

Another "Lottery"

I'm not sure how I found The Lottery by Beth Goobie since it's a fourteen-year-old book. It was one of those situations where I bring home a book from the library, leave it on my library pile for weeks, and when I find it go, "Why, whatever could this be?"

Okay, time to remind everyone about my Shirley Jackson obsession. No doubt The Lottery title was the initial draw for me. There definitely is a conection between this Lottery and Jackson's. The basic premise of Goobie's book is that a secret club, the Shadow Council, exists at Saskatoon Collegiate High School. Each year the members, which change as students graduate and move on, select a victim for the year. The victim serves the Council by running errands that primarily involve delivering notes instructing students to do their unsavory bidding. Oh, and the victim is shunned by the rest of the student body for the school year. Then a new victim is selected, and things go back to normal for the old one. In a manner of speaking.

Yeah, it sounds pretty far-fetched when I put it that way. But I totally bought into it, just as I, and so many other readers, bought into Jackson's Lottery. One of the fascinating things about both stories--all the townspeople/students had to do was say, "No." All the characters bought in, just as the readers do. They gave the lotteries their power.

A little drawback to the Goobie book: It's a problem book, which is fine. Main character Sal is dealing with a significant and interesting problem. But it's not the only problem. Sal has a troubled backstory. There's a character in a wheelchair and another who's autistic. It's a little bit of a pile on.

But otherwise this was a good world/reading experience.

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