Newest Review: ... in fear of his regular outbursts. The book opens with Jayni's mum Nikki unexpectedly winning a large amount of money (£10,000) on a scrat... more
Lola Rose - Jacqueline Wilson
Author Name: daisylee3
Lola Rose - Jacqueline Wilson
Date: 02/12/11, updated on 02/12/11 (72 review reads)
Advantages: A gripping book
Disadvantages: May be a little to graphic for younger children due to the range of subjects covered
I used to be a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan when I was alot younger and I think I read pretty much every single book that she wrote. I love the style of her writing and her ability to portray all characters of various ages, sexes, mental states and personalities. All of the different characters in each of her books are realistic and i'd go as far as saying easy to relate to - her books cover various 'real life' subjects such as growing up without any family (The Story of Tracy Beaker), living with a parent who has a severe mental illness (The Illustrated Mum), bullying (Secrets) and having a close friend die (Vicky Angel), etc. This book - Lola Rose is one of the books that mainly sticks out to me, it is a really touching book and i'd forgotten how good it was! I first read it when I was around 12/13, and came across it in my local library a couple of weeks ago while I was waiting to meet a friend. I started off by flicking through the pages and before I knew it, I was hooked - I read the entire book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was quite bizzare reading a book that i'd forgotten about and hadn't layed eyes on in over 8 years, but the memories came flooding back as I read each line and before long I was completely in the character's shoes and seeing the world through her eyes. That's the thing with Jacqueline Wilson - a majority of her books are written in first person and therefor are much more realistic and touching.
This book, Lola Rose, is about a young girl (i'd guess around 11, I can't remember her excact age) called Jayni. Jayni lives at home with her little brother Kenny and her mum, Nikki and her dad, Jay. Jay is far from world's best Dad and is a violent alchoholic, causing her, her mother and her brother to live in fear of his regular outbursts. The book opens with Jayni's mum Nikki unexpectedly winning a large amount of money (£10,000) on a scratch card. Nikki, with encouragement from wise beyond her years Jayni, decides against telling Jay due to his drinking habits as both fear that he will spend it all on drink and having a good time, and instead intend to keep it a secret from him. When Jay announces that he's left his job, and needs money to buy a car in order to start up his new business working for a mini cab firm, Nikki ends up telling him about her winnings, and the family go out for a celebratery, expensive meal. This is where the tension starts to build, and we, the readers, become aware of Jayni's parents' troubled relationship and both of their issues with alchohol. The two get into a fight, and after Jay hits Nikki once they're back home, Jayni decides to get involved which results in him hitting her, which he expresses regret for but doesn't apologise.
This is the last straw for Nikki and once Jay has stormed out of the house in a fit of rage, she orders the children to pack their bags. Kenny, Jayni's little brother has a hard time in choosing what to take with him - he doesn't understand the whole seriousness of the situation and I found this section of the book really intense and quite gripping - I was really hoping that they would be able to leave before Jay got back. Once the families bags are packed, they hail a cab and go on the run, adopting new identities to avoid being traced by violent Jay. Jayni assumes the identity of Lola Rose, a name she chose after seeing a model in a magazine with the same name - "One of the pictures had the model's name, Lola Rose. I tried the name out inside my head. I liked it. 'I'll be Lola Rose.' I stood up straight, tossed my hair, smoothed my nightie. Lola Rose sounded a seriously cool girl. She had long, thick, curly hair (my fine, straight hair seemed thicker and curlier already). Lola Rose had a perfect model figure. I sucked in my tummy and stuck out my chest. Lola Rose wasn't scared of anyone. Not even her dad. I breathed out slowly, a little smile on my face. 'Lola Rose Luck,' said Mum. 'OK. New name, new start.'"
The mother in the story is quite immature. She's an ex page 3 model and classes herself as the "skinny and pretty daughter" out of her and her sister, and she starts out as very ditsy and the type of woman that would choose men and booze over her kids, but as the story developes she really matures and sees sense in putting her kids first and when it is discovered that she has breast cancer, things really take a turn in the book, with her and Jayni's relationship growing stronger. The book is quite 'detailed' I would say.. I wouldn't go as far as saying graphic or disturbing, but there's stuff in the book that is quite hard to read if that makes sense with the young main character experiencing things that no child should, such as being physically abused by her father and living in fear of him/having to protect her mum, finding out her mum has cancer, having to start a new school where she's bullied, getting dolled up in high heels and wandering around parks late at night, living in a horrible and grotty house, having to care for her brother who has emotional problems due to the childrens' home lives and various other things that I won't mention or i'll probably totally ruin the book for anyone who hasn't read it!
I remember reading this book when I was alot younger and being able to relate to the main character despite never having experienced (at the time) half the stuff that she does. She is the sort of character that doesn't dwell on things are there's not billions of pages written about how much she hates her life - the story is fast paced and well structured. I felt sorry for Lola but still respected her - the character is very strong and copes well in the situations which she finds herself in despite being incredibly insecure and to an extent, emotionally damaged. The book is so easy to read, I just glided through it during my dinner hour while waiting to meet my friend at the library and I got totally lost in my own little world while reading it - it was like I was 12 again! Depsite now being an adult, I do still see the story as how I saw it the first time I read it. There are no hidden meanings or smart similes which you have to think about for ages to get the meaning of, the book is written as a child would think and as if you're simply watching there life play out in front of you. Despite the disturbing nature of the book it isn't too much of a hard read - I didn't have to put it down and take a break at all, as Wilson manages to keep a sense of hope (and even humour at points) throughout the book.
Reading this book made me grateful that I didn't have to experience domestic violence etc as a child and made me realise how easy my childhood was compared to some peoples'. The book ends on quite a positive note. It cleared up everything that I was wandering about throughout the story so was quite satisfying if that makes sense. The book overall is brilliant. I would say it's best for readers who are aged 12+ due to the content. The book is available pretty much everywhere - supermarkets, amazon, ebay etc and prices range from around £2-£6 depending where you buy it from and it is also available in libraries if you don't want to buy it. As far as I know it can be purchased in paperback or hardback and there are 292 pages.
Summary: A touching story about a woman and her children who are victims of domestic abuse.