Saturday, April 2, 2011
"The Rich Part of Life"
"The day we won the lottery I was wearing wax lips that my father had bought for the Nose Picker and me at a truck stop." That's the opening sentence of The Rich Part of Life: A Novelby Jim Kikoris, and it was the wax lips that pulled me right in when I read this standing at the bookshelf at the library. Remember those big red wax lips that used to be in the stores around Halloween? Instant flash to childhood.
Eleven-year-old Teddy narrates this story, in which his quiet, withdrawn father buys a single lottery ticket and suddenly places the family into a whirlwind of unexpected events. Relatives appear from out of the wodwork. Teddy learns about his mother, who died a year ago, and watches as his father begins to open up and to date (the mother of his arch-enemy at school). A soap-opera vampire appears on their doorstep and becomes a part of their lives. The lovely -- and unexpected-- part of this story is that the lottery winnings provide a focal point for everyone around Teddy and his family, while all Teddy's father wants to do is retreat to his grief and his Civil War history.
So the novel is really about family, and expectations, and remembering what the world looks like from a child's point of view. It was funny, and sweet, and poignant and I'm glad I found this.
Posted by Diane Perin Hock at 6:01 PM