Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review: Fifty Million Reasons

By Gail Allison

What would you do if you won the lottery? Seriously, if you were instantly fifty million dollars richer, what would you do? Would it change who you are? Would it change the little things that you do every day? Would it change the way you treat people? Would it change the way they treat you? How would you know who your friends really are if you were suddenly a multi-millionaire?

In Fifty Million Reasons, Heather Wardell deftly answers all these questions through Angela, her protagonist. Angela has bought a lottery ticket every week without fail. She is a wonderful, giving person who tries to go out of her way to make life a little better for everyone around her. So when she actually wins the fifty million dollar jackpot one day (the full fifty million…she wins in Canada, where there’s no tax on lottery winnings) her first instinct is to take care of everyone around her. She is confident she knows who her friends are, but what she doesn’t count on is the influx of attention from everyone around her, right down to complete strangers. Angela wants so badly to help the people she cares most about, but her real friends convince her to take care of herself first and foremost. She puts her trust in her best friend John’s ex-wife, who (he assures her) is an excellent financial advisor. As she learns more about the people around her and sees how the money has changed how they see her and treat her, will she be strong enough to stick to her convictions and do what she thinks is right?

Fifty Million Reasons hits the mark on so many levels. It's one of those rare books that pulls you in and makes you feel like you're a part of the story, while working the other way: trickling out into real life and forcing you to have those "what if..." thoughts. The characters are real people, with multiple dimensions. As all the characters metamorphose through this earth-shattering change in Angela’s life, their voices in the story line become more or less pronounced according to their bond with Angela, which I found very interesting. It is well-written, the characters are nicely layered, and it’s set in Canada (bonus!). This book sparkles with a fun story line and just the right amount of introspection. Angela is a multi-dimensional character, and the layers that this book moves through with not only the main character, but with multiple characters make it real and completely engaging. It made me wonder what I would do, and how I would change if something like that were to happen. I find the very best books make you wonder about the characters and situations after they’ve finished, and this one was no different.

Ms. Wardell has a definite winner here, and imagine my glee at learning she has thirteen other novels available! It was like hitting my own personal jackpot. Time to update the Christmas list…

Thanks to Heather Wardell for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Heather Wardell:


pascale said...

I have read a couple of Heather's books and really enjoyed them so... I just ordered this one via Kindle

Janine said...

This does sound really interesting