by Patricia Wood
Perry L. Crandall knows what it’s like to be an outsider. With an IQ of 76, some see him as an easy mark. Before his grandmother died, she taught Perry many important lessons including the importance of words and writing things down—and how to play the lottery. Most importantly, she taught him who to trust, a crucial lesson for Perry when he wins the multimillion-dollar jackpot. As his dysfunctional and uncaring family descends, moving in on his fortune, he has a lesson for them: never, ever underestimate Perry Crandall.
Discussion questions from SOMN
- At several points in the novel, various characters use the r-word. How do you feel about this word and other words people use to describe individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities? Why do you think the author chose to use this word? Do you agree with her choice? Why or why not?
- Perry calls Gram “a good teacher. She didn’t mind that I was slow, but lots of people do.” How did Gram’s lessons prepare Perry for the challenges he faces throughout the novel?
- Which character are you most drawn to? Why?
- What do you think of Perry’s decision at the end of the novel? What would you have advised him to do?
- Does money buy happiness? Does it buy love? What do you think Perry’s life would have been like if he hadn’t won the lottery?
Classroom activities from SOMN
- Working in five groups, have each group read and discuss one of the five articles from the Star Tribune’s series A Matter of Dignity. Groups will then share what they learned with the class and reflect on how this relates to Perry’s experiences.
- Watch this TED Talk by Aimee Mullins. Reflect on the speaker’s message and how it connects with Perry’s story.