Series or stand alone: stand alone
Reason for reading: I read about it on bookish, I think.
Cover: yeah, it’s alright. I would probably pick it up in a bookshop out of curiosity.
Synopsis: Perry L. Crandall lives with his Gram in Washington State, USA. He has an IQ of 76, which is one point above what would be considered retarded (the author’s word, not mine). His family want nothing to do with him, thinking he is stupid and not worth their time. But that’s okay with Perry, he has his Gram, he has his friends Keith, Gary and Cherry and he has his job at Holsted’s Marine Supply. Them Gram dies and soon afterwards Perry wins $12 million in the Washington State lottery. Perry is now rich and semi-famous and his family start to creep out of the woodwork, adamant they know what is right for Perry.
First line: My name is Perry L. Crandall and I am not retarded.
Thoughts: I wanted to like this book more than I did. It took me three weeks to read it because it was a tad depressing and Perry’s first person narrative really grated on my nerves. Kudos to the author, though, for tackling a narrative from the point of view of someone who is ‘slower’ than normal. It was all too Forrest Gump-y for me (I hate Forrest Gump), with mostly simple words and very little in the way of word contractions (i.e. it was normally ‘do not’ instead of ‘don’t’), making it a slow and unnatural way to read. What I did like about the narrative, however, was the way Perry interspersed what he was saying with his own meanings for words. It was an interesting insight into his language capabilities and his meanings were often better than the true meanings.
Often, Perry’s friends and family would talk as if he wasn’t there, allowing the reader to understand what is going on even if Perry himself didn’t. This was an interesting plot device; it worked up a sense of peril in a way. We were aware of the family’s plans but Perry was not. Would he figure it all out in time?
The characters were, for the most part, bland and two dimensional. They were either NICE or EVIL. Perry himself was the only one who felt ‘real’ to me but this could be due to the fact that the novel was from Perry’s POV and we only got his thoughts and feelings of the characters. I just wanted to step into the book and give Perry a big hug and protect him from the world. What can I say? I like to mother everybody.
The ending somewhat redeemed the story overall, even if it was a bit emotionally manipulative. It had me bawling my eyes out on the train (a regular occurrence this year, I bet the commuters will be glad not to see me again) and it stayed true to the previous characterisation of Perry.
Currently reading: Quintin Jardine’s A Rush of Blood.