When a little kid draws a picture
it is all a big face
and some arms stuck on.
That’s their life.
You get older
and you are a whole mess of things,
new thoughts, sorry feelings
big plans, enormous doubts
going along hoping and getting disappointed
over and over again,
no wonder I don’t recognize
my little crayon picture.
It appears to be me
and it is
and it is not.
This is how True Believer begins, the book I’ve chosen.
When Verna la Vaughn (the main character) was little, the obstacles in her life didn’t seem so bad. If she had an argument with Annie or Myrtle, her friends, it would never last long. If she fell out with her mother, they would have made it up by bedtime. School was simple and everything made sense. But La Vaughn is now fifteen and the obstacles aren’t going away anymore. Big questions separate her from her friends. Her mother is distracted by a new man, called Lester. School could slip away from her so easily. The boy she is in love with is also in love with her, but she doesn’t think he is.
Anyway she is still a true believer.
She believes in possibility and the possibility that the world will make sense someday. She always says, we will rise to the occasion which is life. I liked this part because she doesn’t have so much possibility to graduate. She wants to go to college and she is saving money already for her College Account. She has an ambition and wants to be a nurse and cure the people. Therefore she is going to the grammar build up where she improves her spelling and speaking. She has a group there called the brain cells with Ronell, Doug and Artrille in it. She also moved up to a higher biology class to spend more time on biology and to pass the tests. For example she got a good score on the Science Aptitude test in order to go to the summer science recruitment to understand Chemistry and some microbiology.
La Vaughn doesn’t have the possibility to live at an undamaged and saver house as well because they are poor. But she went to the Food and Flashlight where there was a dance party. The aim of the Food and Flashlight is to collect a lot of food and share it with poor people because there’s a lot of poverty in their neighbourhood. She is poor herself but she participates and that is a good achievement.
La Vaughn did also babysitting with Jeremy and Jilly ( in the previous book “Make Lemonade”:
They were Jolly’s children and La Vaughn took care of them because they had a terrible life. Jolly didn’t finish school and she got two babies from two different guys who she didn’t even know. La Vaughn’s mother and friends didn’t think of it as a good plan. In spite of that she took care of them.
So I liked this book because you get something out of it and the way she loves and helps children is also really interesting. For example she works at the Children’s hospital and she folds laundry. Every day, after she comes home, she is reminded of how unfair the world is and how hopeless the children are, laying there the whole day till they die from the illness. She wants to do something, like she did with Lee Anne who had cancer. She read a book after folding the laundry and Lee Anne enjoyed it very much. I think somebody who is doing his/her best without expecting something from others ( like babysitting without getting any money for it), will get the possibility to achieve everything she wants in life.
La Vaughn doesn’t want to lose her friends and therefore she goes to church. She does this because her friends, Annie and Myrtle, are members of the Jesus Club and they are forbidden to talk to people who are not a member of the church. Their friendship was going to end because of this but La Vaughn didn’t give up, for instance she joined a play of the Jesus Club. All of this to not lose her friends.
I think the author of this book, Virginia Eeuwer Wolff wanted to write something about her own life. She grew up in ruralOregon in a log house. There wasn’t any electricity, the only thing they did have was a massive stone fire place. She loves writing books and she won several prices for it. For instance this novel has won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. I think this book has been read so much by teenagers because it deals with their life. Adolescents have a very insecure, difficult and lost time. During this period, they will mostly deal with problems, like quarrelling with parents and splitting up with friends. But love is the biggest problem in this book and in the life of most teenagers.Usually they get desperate and cause more problems if matters don’t get solved. This book has a happy end because La Vaughn and Jody (the boy she is in love with) end up together. However what the readers get out of it is that they shouldn’t make their problems worse than they are and that there will always be a way out. So you have to be a true believer.
I like the way Virginia Eeuwer Wolff writes because it is really easy to read. As a reader, you will get right into La Vaughn’s life. You can also admire the hope and courage she and her mother share. I really loved this novel and would recommend it to others.