The Higher Power of Lucky Characters

Susan Patron


Lucky Trimble—the main character; a tan, ten-year-old girl

Short Sammy—a short, former alcoholic who wears a cowboy hat

HMS Beagle
—Lucky’s dog; not a beagle but named for Charles Darwin’s ship

Brigitte—Lucky’s French-born legal guardian

Lincoln—Lucky’s knot-obsessed best friend, also ten years old

Miles—a five-year-old boy who lives for cookies and stories

Dot—a bossy woman who runs Baubles ’n’ Beauty Salon; she does hair and makes jewelry

The Captain—a former airline pilot and smoking addict who distributes the mail

Mrs. Mildred Prender—Miles’s grandmother and a former smoker

Chesterfield the Burro—a local burro who figures in Lucky’s stories of the Olden Days

Lucille—Lucky’s mother, who was killed when she touched a power cable after a storm

Sandi—the bus driver who drives the Hard Pan children 50 miles to school each day

Mrs. McBeam—Lucky’s fifth-grade teacher

Ms. Baum-Izzart—the principal of Lucky’s school

Character Analysis

Lucky Trimble is ten years old when the book opens. She is rare and strange but completely believable. She is very much her own person, but she has been markedly shaped by her surroundings. Lucky has been systematically isolated by a series of factors, starting with her parents’ divorce and continuing through her mother’s freak accident and death and her father’s choice not to care for his daughter himself. This series of emotional traumas pulls Lucky far from the common path, setting her looking for the meaning of life far younger than most people seek it—and considerably more intensely. At the same time, she is her own person in that she finds ways to pursue her scientific interests even in the small town she inhabits. Lucky adapts scientific concepts to emotional problems and the language of twelve-step programs to the larger human condition. Lucky is an example of environmental adaptation and, in a spiritual and emotional sense, of survival of the fittest that her hero Charles Darwin studied. Lucky is an extraordinary creature, one perfectly adapted to her environment. Her vocabulary, her sense of rightness, her ambitions, and the intense array of emotions she feels combine to make her vividly real.

Lincoln Clinton Carter Kennedy, Lucky’s best friend, is at once a contrast to Lucky and very similar to her. Though his family is somewhat nontraditional—his father is twenty-three years older than his mother is—he lacks her jumbled personal life and, therefore, has no external reason to look beyond himself for a greater order of things. Nevertheless, he is concerned with order, and that concern takes form in his obsession with knots. Though he too is only ten years old, Lincoln is a member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers, and he dreams of going to visit a knot museum in Paris. He cannot explain its source, but Lincoln has his calling: he wants to tie knots. Like Lucky’s search, though, this puts him in conflict with his...

(The entire section is 748 words.)