The Higher Power of Lucky // by Susan Patron
Winner of the Newbery Award (2007)
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Basic Plot: Ten-year-old Lucky lives in Hard Pan, California, population 43. Her mother has died and Brigitte has come from France to be her temporary guardian. It’s Lucky’s job to clean up after all the twelve-step anonymous programs, so she finds herself eavesdropping on their meetings and hearing the stories of how they hit rock bottom, only to find their Higher Power. That’s when she realizes she wants to find her own Higher Power.
I really liked the town with all its quirky characters. Everybody from Lucky, Lincoln, and Miles to Short Sammy, Dot, and Brigitte. I thought Susan Patron captured this very well. Especially all those twelve-step anonymous programs on which Lucky eavesdrops! I particularly liked how she portrayed Miles and his obsession with the book Are You My Mother? …and how that connects to the search for his own mother… which is connects to Lucky’s own search for a mother. (I also happen to really like Are You My Mother? I love it when books are referenced in books! 🙂 )
I thought the ending wasn’t set up quite as well as it could have been. I actually had to go back and re-read it. Which means it didn’t have that cathartic feeling that it should have had. I mean, I saw how the situation with Brigitte was going to pan out. But that just made me think Lucky was totally over-reacting. I didn’t fully believe that this was enough to cause her to reach her rock bottom.
Miles is trying to get Lucky to read to him from his all-time favourite book, Are You My Mother?…
Lucky had no time to be nice. “That book is wrecked,” she said. “It looks even worse now.”
Miles smoothed the duct tape. “It’s still fine inside,” he said. “Could you read it to me?”
“Miles, get a life. You already know the story by heart, and it’s boring.”
“No, it’s not! The part about the Snort is good, and so is the part where he finds his mother at the end.”
So… did it deserve the Newbery Award? Well, I happen to know that Rules by Cynthia Lord was also in the running for 2007. I really liked that book and I probably would have given it the Newbery instead. Not that I didn’t like this book. I would have given this book a Newbery Honor.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? What did you think of the ending? Do you think it deserved the Newbery? Let me know in the comments!
Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal, or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up.