By Derryll White
Scrimger, Richard (2016). Lucky Jonah.
This is a Canadian novel with the main character, Jonah, 13 in Grade 8 in a small Ontario town. Jonah is given a disposable camera with 12 shots left in it. Gord, the older fellow who gives it to him, is considered a little challenged but he calls Jonah “Lucky” and tells him he has 12 wishes.
Scrimger has a nice light hand. He gets the language right for the 10-14 age group without speaking down to anyone else. There are some allusions that relate well to young readers but which may pass older readers by, but it won’t ruin the story for them. Jonah explores the world he is locked into by his birthright and the world that surrounds him as defined by others. He walks in their shoes. It is definitely something we all should do.
Are you different? Everyone is; some more than others. Jonah learns to accept and even enjoy some of his differences. Richard Scrimger has managed to write a light book about serious things. What is more, he has done it in a way that has meaning for readers from 10 to 100. I am happier and more open to life for having read “Lucky Jonah.”
Excerpts from the book:
COORDINATION – I’ve never felt so in control of my body. For me, running has always involved a lot of flailing around, arms and legs going in different directions. Last year Miss Wideman said that when I sprinted, I looked like a building collapsing sideways.
PERCEPTION – It’s amazing how easily we can accept total weirdness. Walking on the moon. Talking across a continent. Things that would have astonished our great-grandparents are totally normal to us. Drone attacks? Sure, we think. Internet shopping, five hundred TV channels, phone apps that make a fart sound. Lung transplants. Sour cream and jalapeno-flavored potato chips. None of these things make sense but we nod and say okay.
– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them. When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.