When life gives you lemons

It’s round two of book review!

Make Lemonade is a much easier read than Book Thief, although its subject matter is also difficult. LaVaughn is a fourteen-year-old girl who needs a job and answers an ad that reads “Need Babysitter Real Bad.” Who placed the ad? Jolly did. A seventeen-year-old girl with no husband and no parents, but two babies and a job. Their apartment is downright disgusting, and there’s no other help in sight.

What would you do? As a mom, would you want your fourteen-year-old daughter to babysit under those conditions? Wouldn’t this almost be like the blind leading the blind?

One thing LaVaughn has that Jolly doesn’t is a goal. She’s determined to be the first person in her family to go to college. She wants out of the inner city. Out of the life surrounded by poverty and the violence that killed her father. She takes the job and although it’s very difficult, this determined and kind fourteen-year-old girls begins to make a huge impact on Jolly and her babies. They also affect her, giving her insight into a life she’s never experienced and causing her to have a new level of gratitude for things she’d taken for granted in the past. Along the way, she sees the heroic efforts Jolly has made to improve her own life. Her current situation may not seem like much, but it’s taken the same determination and resolve for her to leave her past behind as it will take LaVaughn to go to college and leave the inner city.

For those of us who have grown up in mostly stable environments, it’s eye-opening to read these stories. Stories that happen every day. Not far away, but very close to where we are. I saw a challenge in this book: are we as Christians having an impact on the daily lives of people in these circumstances? How would Jesus minister to these people? I’m fairly certain he would not wait for them to get their act together, buy some clean clothes and show up for church one Sunday.

Unlike a lot of books written for this age group, there is very little unsavory language. In fact, I don’t remember any but I’ve had to read so much of it this summer that I may not have noticed it if it was there. The subject matter is difficult. Jolly is one of those people that seems to wear a sign that says, “Take advantage of me!” and those situations are not glossed over.

Definitely worth reading. A quick read, but worthwhile.

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