Review: Life's Lottery

3 stars
Free will and choice

Life’s Lottery by Kim Newman works like a classic Choose Your Own Adventure book but with an adult story in a real world scenario. It explores how little, seemingly unimportant decisions can steer the life of the protagonist. There is no stat keeping or dice cast necessary to follow the life of Keith Marion from childhood to death. A minor childhood decision can derail his adulthood from happiness to misery which gives the reader great pleasure because it allows messing with someone’s life.

Every decision asks if Keith actually has a choice when you know all details from his life to this moment. Even worse, some events are inevitable baring the question: Is there any choice in life or is it just predestined? The plot handles all aspects of life like confronting the school bully, losing the love of your life or a criminal career.

Book cover (Credit: Titanbooks. Fair use.)
The multiple endings of the story vary a lot so the replay value is high. But it is more about back tracking and re-reading sections to nudge destiny in the right direction instead of re-reading the whole story again. In the book are no illustrations so it feels and looks a bit dry. I recommend reading Life’s Lottery because it strays from the sucked dry fantasy setting to a rare real world setting. The adult themes are a refreshing change from the common gamebook stories.