Friday, August 31, 2007


Patricia Wood's debut novel is Lottery.

She applied the Page 69 Test to the new book and reported the following:
"The 'page 69 test' is very interesting," as my character Perry would say. Perry L. Crandall would also say he is not retarded. To be retarded you have to have an I.Q. of 75 or lower according to the Reader's Digest and his is 76. In this scene, Perry and his friend Keith are at the Lottery office in Olympia, Washington claiming Perry's 12 million dollar prize.

"Hey," I say. "I can get Animal Planet now." This makes me excited.

"Hey!" I think of something else. I have a lot of good ideas today. "I can get a TV!"

Margery from the lottery office wants to talk with me.

"Do you have family? I mean someone who helps you," she asks.

I know what she really means. She thinks I am retarded. She thinks I cannot take care of myself. I hate that, and it upsets me.

"Hey, he's not retarded if that's what you're getting at!" Keith yells.

I am glad Keith yelled because my words get jumbled and thick in my throat. I stop being angry and get embarrassed. I feel better when Margery apologizes. She leads us into another office when a bunch of people with cameras and microphones crowd into the main room.

Keith stands behind me full of advice. "Don’t take the lump sum!" He hisses like a snake.

"I don't know what you're talking about," I say.

"Take the payments!" he says.

Winning the lottery is very complicated.

First, they ask to see my ticket and a man checks all the numbers. Next, I have to sign the back of the ticket with my address and phone number. Then I show my Washington State Picture ID, Social Security card, and fill out another paper.

I have to fill out lots of paperwork so that Uncle Sam gets his share. I do not have an Uncle Sam. People just say that when they mean taxes. Taxes are something you have to pay even though you do not want to. I ask the lottery people if they want to see anything else. They say no, that's fine. Finally, they ask me what I want to do. They tell me I can get my money once a year for twenty-five years, or all at once. If I take my money all at once, I only get half.

"It's a rip-off, Per. If you take it all you'd only get six mill, plus all the taxes! You'd only end up with three mill at the end."

This passage not only shows the narrative style necessary for the reader to believe that this story is told authentically from Perry's point of view but also reveals something of Perry's personality and how he and his friend Keith interact.

While a reader knows Perry wins 12 million dollars in the Washington State Lottery, they suspect nefarious individuals could possibly take advantage of his trusting nature. This becomes the story and the premise of Lottery: How much money does it take to make people to accept Perry as he is and include him in their lives?

It might very well be 12 million.
Read an excerpt from Lottery and learn more about the novel and the author at Patricia Wood's website, her blog, and her MySpace page.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue