Thursday, February 19, 2009
This Full House by Virginia Ewer Wolff
I have waited a long time for this final installment in the Make Lemonade trilogy. It has been years since I have read Make Lemonade and True Believer, but the pleasure of reading those books came back to me as soon as I started reading. LaVaughn is an inner city girl who dreams of getting out of the projects and going to college. She's now in her senior year and accepted into a "women in science" program that may be her ticket to college acceptance. She's feeling regret about the way she once treated a boy named Patrick and she's still babysitting the two children of Jolly, a teen mother who she worked for in the first book of the trilogy. Oh, and her best friend Annie is pregnant. All the lines of the story come together when she comes to suspect a connection between Jolly and the head of her science program. Unfortunately, the coincidence is too great to believe, but the writing is so good and the characters so real that it didn't really matter to me. I was just interested in seeing LaVaughn through to college and achieving her dreams. There was a strong theme of acting according to your conscience and doing the right thing. And Wolff doesn't shy away from the complexity of figuring out what the right thing is. It's not always clear and it certainly can cause pain. The free verse format makes this a quick read and even when using dozens of scientific terms, Wolff makes it all sounds like poetry.