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The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue

The Lotterys Plus One

by Emma Donoghue

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I pre-read this book for my grandsons. Definitely will recommend as it checks so many boxes for reading in this century. It's a middle grade book, good for read-aloud at earlier ages. I love several of Emma Donoghue's adult books [Room] and [Frog Music] She is the bottom child of eight so she has personal experience with a lively, chaotic household. Her research and imagination took her further into a story with rich characters and creative familial relationships. I was glad to discover that she is working on a sequel. ( )
  beebeereads | Jan 2, 2018 |
Boy, I dunno.

On the one hand, I really appreciate what Donoghue does with this book -- crafts an incredibly diverse story for children. Middle grade can suffer from a lack of diversity, especially where sexuality is concerned, I've found. (I am currently trying to read all of the middle grade, Canadian, LGBTQ books I can get my hands on and... let's just say there isn't much.) So, cheers to Emma Donoghue for writing a book with four gay parents and a transgender child!

On the other hand... the entire first half of the book read in a disappointingly gimmicky way. Fleetings, the Uh-Oh, Spare Oom, so many things had these weird, cutesy, and almost baby-talk-y titles. It felt like everything had to have a pun, or a nickname made up by a little kid, or whatever. So not my thing to read.

I'm also not totally comfortable with how the character of Brian is treated. When a kid chooses the name Brian, gets furious when someone calls them a girl, and shaves their head... maybe their pronouns aren't she/her? Or, you know what, maybe they ARE she/her, and that's okay too. I just wish there had been SOME discussion of Brian's pronouns, because that just felt misgender-y.

So, I like the book on principle. I like a lot of the characters. The execution, less so. ( )
  bucketofrhymes | Dec 13, 2017 |
I'm really into this being a book for younger readers about alternative family structures. I think that's incredible and I want more people to read this and I'm glad I can give it to children in my life.

It's a bit over the top in making the family weird in all kinds of ways, but it's also does a good job as normalizing diversity.

Super excited by how casually gay parents are included.

A little disappointed that by having the family be lottery winners it kind of sets up this idea that you have to have a lot of money to be able to structure your life consciously and differently.

Personally frustrated, though it's not really a flaw of the book, that it gets so close to including non-monogamous characters but doesn't quite. But there is an awesome conversation about mating and non-monogamy in snakes.

Also I'm pretty sure the book is doing a good job handling a gender nonconforming child character, but I think there's a small chance the book is doing a mediocre job handling a binary trans child character. ( )
  DanCopulsky | May 13, 2017 |
The Lotterys are not your typical family. It is like the Brady Bunch on steroids. With two moms and two dads, nine-year-old Sumac loves her unique family. But when the “plus one” comes to live with them, Sumac is forced to make changes she is not too excited about.

I loved reading about the dynamics of this happy family. I felt the story started out slow and did not get engaging until the last fourth of the book. That being said, I have the stamina to work through knowing the end would be great, but I am not sure a majority of children in would stick with the book. I can see another child who is in a family situation like Sumac reading this book and loving it. This would be a great addition to a classroom or school library waiting for the right child to read it. ( )
  MrsDruffel | May 10, 2017 |
The Lotterys Plus One is one of the most delightful books I’ve encountered in quite some time. Within a few pages I was openly grinning and giggling out loud. Aimed at 8-12 year-olds, I have to say I can think of some adults who could benefit from reading it as well.

This is the story of a big messy, modern day, multi-cultural, multi-everything family. The base of the family began with two gay couples, a man from Yukon and one from Dehli plus a woman from Jamaica and a Mohawk woman. They all became best friends and decided to have a baby together. While in labor, one of the moms finds a winning lottery ticket, which allows them to buy a big house (later dubbed Camelottery!) and fill it with six more kids and five pets.

The characters are further brought to life with vibrant illustrations that have the feeling of modern folk art.

The book focuses on nine-year-old Sumac Lottery, who prides herself on being the most level-headed member of the clan. That is, until her idyllic world is invaded by an unfamiliar, aging grandparent suffering from dementia. He is the father of one of the Lottery dads, long estranged due to the older man’s intolerance of his son’s identity. As the story unfolds, Sumac and the rest of the family learn that sometimes the people who seem the most contrary and sometimes downright mean, are the ones who require love the most.

I’ve often heard the argument from anti-LGBTQ proponents that children shouldn’t be raised by gay or transgender parents because it will be too confusing for them to understand. I’ve always thought this was silly at best. Kids are not born with prejudice, they have to be taught. If they are never told that being gay is wrong, they will never develop bigoted views or suffer any confusion. Yes, they’ll notice the differences in other families, but having two mommies or two daddies becomes just another fact, like having an older brother or a three-legged dog.

Donoghue makes it seem effortless, incorporating the personalities and quirks of eleven people, celebrating their individuality while delving into what it means to be family. She handles some pretty weighty topics without ever insulting the intelligence of young readers.

I love the way she highlights the secret language of families, the little words and phrases that once mispronounced or heard incorrectly, stick to us and become loving in-jokes over time. My own family does this, for instance my niece fully believed that deviled eggs were called doubled eggs- which, if you think about it, is kind of genius. The author has an attentive ear to the brilliant way kids interpret the world.

And the Lotterys embrace these viewpoints, folding them into the familial lore seamlessly and with sweet humor. Everyone is allowed space to grow in any direction they choose, as long as each of them both learn and help in some way every day.

In my ideal world, this is how all families- and society itself- would operate. I wanted to crawl inside this family and have them adopt me. I can’t help hoping for a series here, because I was sad for the book to end. I know if I’d owned this as a kid, I would have read it again and again until the pages were grimy and the cover had to be taped back in place. ( )
  theoutspokenyam | May 2, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545925819, Hardcover)

Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed "good girl" of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them. And not just any grandfather; the long dormant "Grumps," who fell out with his son so long ago that he hasn't been part of any of their lives.

Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps's clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household... He's worse than just tough to get along with -- Grumps has got to go! But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:15:35 -0500)

Once upon a time, two couples with Jamaican, Mohawk, Indian, and Scottish ethnic roots won the lottery and bought a big house where all of them, four adults and seven adopted and biological children, could live together in harmony--but change is inevitable, especially when a disagreeable grandfather comes to stay.… (more)

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