The Higher Power of Lucky
Lucky and most of the other 42 citizens in Hard Pan, California don't have much money. Lucky does have a lot of dreams--like becoming a scientist, or creating a special museum to bring more people to town, or writing a book about how to parent a girl. She also has some worries, like finding her Higher Power, and whether Brigitte, her guardian, is going to stay with her.
The audience for this book is problematic. The young protagonist is dealing with adult issues, but we see them through her (sometimes) naive interpretations. Lucky is ten, but readers of the same age are unlikely to appreciate or be ready for the content in this story. For example, she listens to members of Alcoholics Anonymous tell "rock bottom" stories outside of their meeting hall. In many ways, this book is best suited for adults, as a charming reminder that children have important worries and often struggle to feel like they have any control over their lives.
The author's strongest work in this book is in the relationship between Lucky and Milo, a five-year-old who visits frequently, seeking conversation and cookies. Lucky's worries that her guardian, Brigitte, will give up on her and go back to France are also realistically crafted. As Lucky comes to terms with her mother's death (she has kept the urn with her mother's remains) and her father's absence, this book is an unusual balance of light writing skipping across weighty subjects.
"Maybe if Brigitte realized that one day Lucky would be a world-famous scientist like Charles Darwin, she would stop missing France all the time."
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