Arminzerella's Reviews > The Higher Power of Lucky

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
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** spoiler alert ** Lucky lives with her guardian, Brigitte, in a triple trailer (they’re all connected together). When Lucky’s mother died, her father (who has never wanted children) contacted his first wife, Brigitte, who came over from France to look after Lucky. Brigitte never intended for this to be a permanent arrangement, but she really comes to care for Lucky. Lucky’s traumatized by the loss of her mother, and fears Brigitte is planning to abandon her and return to France. Lucky does the only thing she can think of – she runs away. Unfortunately, she runs away into a storm, and ends up with an unexpected traveling companion. They don’t get very far. When they’re found, everyone is happy to have them back and Brigitte explains to Lucky that she’s planning to adopt her, not abandon her.

This was the Newbery award winner for 2007, and there was a big to-do over it because several librarians refused to put it on their shelves due to its having the word ‘scrotum’ on the first page. According to some people, it’s a dirty word and one that should never come up in polite company. It was an extremely frustrating controversy. There are so many book challenges these days – from people who are concerned about content. While it’s fine to have a discussion about what’s appropriate for you or your children, it’s not at all okay for someone to make that decision for everyone else. The public library is a place for everyone to find materials.

Anyway, controversy makes for good news/makes for good marketing buzz. I’m sure The Higher Power of Lucky would have garnered some attention anyway as the Newbery winner, but all of the brouhaha over “scrotum” gave it some additional exposure (at least among librarians!). So, really, I was hoping for something much better (apparently my expectations were raised more than my eyebrows by Susan Patron’s use of the word ‘scrotum’). This was ok, but entirely too predictable. Poor communication leads to misunderstanding, which leads to a climactic event, and finally a resolution when the characters finally share their feelings. I liked the characters – Lucky, Brigitte, and Lucky’s dog, HMS Beagle (who was not a beagle at all). They were interesting, quirky, amusing. But they didn’t have a great story to live in.

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