Bram Stroker Award winner Kim Newman is known for his witty vampire series Anno Dracula has another book you might want to take a look at. Kim Newman ponders one of life’s questions in “Life’s Lottery”: Is our human life “predetermined or can we really choose our own path in life?” If your were a kid growing in the 1980s, you might remember those Find Your Fate: Transformers and G.I. Joe books that I made my mom buy for me. Those kiddie books had you making the decisions, like if you think Optimus Prime should do this go to page 6, or if you think Optimus Prime should do that go to page 25. Now instead of playing a Hasbro toy character, you play a real-world fictional character and help him make decisions that will alter his life from the ordinary or to the extra-ordinary.
In “Life’s Lottery” you are born into the world as Keith Oliver Marion, a British Caucasian male, and you’ve luck out, you come from a middle-class background. You are stuck in the middle with an older sister Laraine and younger brother James. As I approached page 20 where I would make the first life’s decision for Keith as a 6-year-old boy in school, I really had to reflect how I would come to these decisions and choices for Keith. Do I make the same choices as I did as a kid in my own personal life growing up, which was the kid that got picked on and then bullied others? Do I then make choices from my Christian-American cultural upbringing? Do I just make the common sense decisions as the adult I am now? Do you I use rationalization or just go with it? How about I make the decisions like George Costanza in that episode of Seinfeld where he picked the opposite of everything he would do? Man, this book had me using my brainwaves.
So what it’ll be for 6-year-old Keith? The first big decision I think is in page 24 – you are in the Shane Bush Gang, do you bully Timmy Gossett like the other kids (go to page 109) or stand-up for Timmy (go to page 128)? On my first try reading this book, it was an EPIC Fail on my part as I was hell-bent on revenge against the kids that bullied me in grade school. I lead Keith on a path of destruction and into jail. Well I guess on my second try I will make rational common sense decisions.
As you read “Life’s Lottery” you can cheat by flipping forward and backward to make the best decisions for Keith to live a satisfying life, but you are cheating yourself. Just put “LIfe’s Lottery” on your summer reading list! You can read this book multiple times and also reflect on the choices you make for Keith Marion will effect his family, friends, lovers and enemies.
Paperback Title: Life’s Lottery
Author: Kim Newman
Publisher: Titan Books