Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff

The first of a trilogy of books, Make Lemonade is the story of LaVaughn and her babysitting job taking care of two children or a teenage mother. It's a dark and gritty story of adolescence in urban poverty, where gang crime and drugs and danger are pretty much a fact of life.

This is not a bad book, but not really to my taste. For better or worse, I tend to prefer my stories of privileged middle class white kids in the suburbs over these stories of disadvantaged kids in the Projects. Partly because stories like this are much more about survival, without any time to explore the psyche.

Wolff has a nice style -- train of conscious free verse poetry -- that causes the narrative to spin by pretty quickly. So, when I say this isn't my sort of book, it doesn't mean that it's bad. Although I do get a feeling that this is the type of "socially conscious" book that is likely to be assigned for book reports, rather than the type that kids read for fun.

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