Title: The Lotterys Plus One
Author: Emma Donoghue
Publisher: HarperCollins (Available at all Van Schaik
bookstores across South Africa)
Reviewed by: Fran Thorndike
The Lotterys, a family very much of our century, star in this story about the true meaning of acceptance and belonging. A riotously, exuberantly loving clan of four parents and seven home-schooled children (all named for trees), plus assorted pets, inhabit a sprawling house in an urban Toronto neighbourhood.
Precocious Sumac, a biracial Filipina- German nine-year-old, is the most deeply affected when their prickly, conservative Scottish grandfather, suffering from dementia, is transported against his will from the Yukon wilderness into their cheerful chaos, upsetting the balance of family life.
With a large cast of characters, cultural expression (the parents alone are of Scottish, Indian, Mohawk, and Jamaican descent) is primarily conveyed via food and celebrations. Most refreshing is that the Lotterys’ many differences, from 10-yearold Aspen’s challenges to toddler Oak’s developmental delays, are simply part of their own normal. Full of clever names and wordplay, this engaging tale is moving without veering into sentimentality.