Orwell's Luck

Richard W. Jennings, Author Walter Lorraine Books $15 (192p) ISBN 978-0-618-03628-8
Quirky details and a warm, precocious 12-year-old narrator add up to an engaging and imaginative novel. While the plot is seemingly straightforward, the unnamed narrator subtly--occasionally too subtly--divulges clues to the inner workings of her life. The story begins as she finds an injured rabbit in her front yard and works hard to help him recover. She feeds Orwell apples, plays him a concert on her trombone and eventually secures the aid of a kindly vet who restores movement to the rabbit's back legs. Orwell repays her by sending secret messages in the newspaper horoscopes, on the weather page and even in movie credits. Ranging from prophetic to practical to philosophical, the messages eventually teach her that ""there is always more than one way of looking at things."" Between Orwell's bulletins, the narrator off-handedly addresses less mystical dramas, such as her father's sudden unemployment and her loneliness at a new school. She delivers these details with great delicacy, as though she doesn't want to bother her audience (""My father's job during this troublesome time in our lives consisted primarily of buying lottery tickets""). The audience will have to study her words carefully to get the full picture, but the surface layer of the story is intriguing in and of itself. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Paperback - 146 pages - 978-0-618-69335-1
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-0-547-70524-8
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