The Lucky Poor

Iron Circus. Mar. 2024. 134p. pap. $12. ISBN 9781638991250.
Gr 6-9–In this fully colored graphic memoir, Mazie shares her family’s experience with receiving a Habitat for Humanity house. It sounds like a fairy tale for Mazie’s single mom and her two kids to be “given” their own house, but with volunteer hours to complete, a mortgage to pay, and picky neighbors to appease, Mazie and her family find that they have to prove they are deserving of their home. Lovie uses the lens of being “lucky poor”—an oxymoron where they struggle financially, but are told things could be worse—to reflect on her childhood. Without their house, could she have provided a safe haven for her friend who was struggling with coming out to her family? Would Mazie’s relationship with her autistic brother have been different if they had continued sharing a small bedroom? Would college have been an option? Through questioning the “what ifs” of her past, Lovie challenges readers to rethink society’s simplistic narratives about what it means to be poor. Most characters are portrayed as having pale to light brown skin tones, and Mazie (light skin with brown hair) confesses to having crushes on both a boy and a girl.
VERDICT An enjoyable read that explores the impact of financial instability on relationships, opportunities, and well-being.

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