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Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Make Lemonade - Virginia Euwer Wolff Rating: 4* of fiveThe Book Description: Virginia Euwer Wolff's groundbreaking novel, written in free verse, tells the story of fourteen-year-old LaVaughn, who is determined to go to college--she just needs the money to get there. When she answers a babysitting ad, LaVaughn meets Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother with two kids by different fathers. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom. With two kids hanging in the balance, they need to make the best out of life -- and they can only do it for themselves and each other. My Review: Okay. Brace yourselves. This is a YA novel written in a teenaged girl's voice in free verse. What does this strongly imply I am about to do? Rant and invectivize and holler, right? As a rule, a safe bet.Rule, meet exception.I love LaVaughn and Jolly and their weird, codependent growing up. I am impressed by the genuineness of all the various lovings going on through the book. I am even overlooking the free-verse affectation. It's totally unnecessary to tell this story in any kind of verse, but whatever. LaVaughn's first person voice is poignantly like that of other young women I've known as they grew up, and makes me mist over a little bit.Quote me on that and I will swear an oath on a stack of Bibles that you're lying.The events that LaVaughn narrates remind me of my many attempts to save others. White knight, in more ways than one, rides in and saves the day...then poof you're invisible when things go right. It's like being a parent!It IS being a parent. And that both sucks and blows. But it's also, in a weird masochistic way, the best feeling of all, because there is one fewer roadblock in someone else's path through life because you, O Savior Complex Haver, gave in and did what your warped sense of self insists is right.Problem is...that warp is there because, more often than not, you ARE right.La Vaughn's in for a long long haul. But she also gets something big in return, something not always obvious at the moment, and often not until a lot of life has passed beneath one's eyes. She gets to know in her heart that at least a few people had one less rock to carry, one more reason to smile, one small moment of being, if not feeling, cared about and for, because she lifted, carried, cared, smiled.Most days that's enough. Come hear her tell about it. It's a good story.