I really enjoyed Powerballs by Jimmy Clifton which tells the story of the Balls, a couple in their fifties, who win the lottery. At the start of the book, their marriage is in a bit of strife as they want different things: Rose Ball is still trim and attractive but fed up of not having the lifestyle she wants, especially when her best friend, Suzanne has the luxury living that she craves; Henry Ball is an accountant in a firm that doesn’t appreciate him and is fantasising about other female staff members whilst suffering from middle age spread. and being financially stretched.
When they become billionaires after a fortuitous lottery win, their lives are transformed and their financial worries fly out of the window. But with this windfall comes a whole other set of challenges which have infinitely higher stakes.
What I liked most about this novel was that it was fun to read. I liked Rose and Henry Ball and I think that Clifton has done a great job at showing how they got stuck in a rut with no discernible way out other than divorce or death, neither of which are particularly joyful options. If I have one criticism of the book, it is that when Henry and Rose land the money, not much attention is given to their relationship in decline or how it fails to transform their existence. I felt like this could have been developed more and their separation, whilst maybe inevitable, could have benefitted from a little more build-up as this period felt a little brief; however, Clifton had already set the groundwork for them not being happy before their billionaire boon.
When the money lands and despite no longer having the looming shadow of financial strains, chinks expand in their marriage, the story really starts to develop as they go their separate ways and begin to explore the billionaires’ life independent of each other. There is tension but nothing too threatening, only the suggestion of it. There is also humour which makes this a very light-hearted read. But that takes nothing away from it as it is well-written, well-paced, well-evolved – it is the archetypal good read.
It’s a book that delivers a good story and sometimes as a reader that is all you need – nothing too challenging but a fully immersive experience in the lives of people different to you.
This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC. These are my unbiased views of the book. Honestly.