This novel by Virginia Euwer Wolff is a great demonstration of making the best out of a bad situation. I think that LaVaughn is a wonderful young lady to take on such a job as watching Jeremy and Jilly for Jolly who is only a few years older than LaVaughn. As described in the book, Jolly’s house sounded nasty dirty with cockroaches all over and stains and sticky messes all over the floor…but depicted what real life is for them.
As a reader, I instantly felt bad for Jeremy and Jilly and the environment that they had to grow up in. I always feel bad for the kids because they didn’t ask to be born into such a situation, it’s the hand that life dealt them and it’s not always fair…or remotely comparable to some childhoods. However, I think LaVaughn was like an angel sent to Jolly and her kids to help them in their time of need. LaVaughn gave up her time, energy, no wages, and grades in order to help Jolly get on the right path of getting back in school in order to provide for her children.
I also liked that LaVaughn gave Jeremy those lemon seeds but kept giving them to him to see if they would eventually sprout. He was very persistent and LaVaughn was real with him and didn’t lie about them not sprouting, she just kept brining new ones. Another way LaVaughn was a blessing to them was that she taught Jeremy to be potty trained. She also started teaching him how to count and bought him shoes. She was vital to their survival during this time in Jolly’s life when she got laid off and did not have an education in order to get another job. When LaVaughn urged her to get in the Mom’s program at the school Jolly reluctantly went and had day care for her children. LaVaughn was no longer needed much, only for an hour a day or so, but Jolly gained so much knowledge at school that she even learned CPR…which she ended up having to use in order to save Jilly’s life.
Jilly never gave up, even when she felt completely helpless, she took the gifts and assistance given to her and made lemonade out of the lemons she was dealt in life. She chose to go back to school for her children. That is very commendable of a single mom trying to make it in this world.
The experiences that LaVaughn gained by helping Jolly and her kids are more than she may have bargained for. She learned what life is like for those who don’t have parents or a nice place to live, or even a next meal. She learned to put aside her ignorance for life’s events and take a hold of the situation in order to benefit those sweet children and their future.