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Lola Rose is a children's novel by Jacqueline Wilson. It revolves around the life of a young girl called Jayni, who runs away to London with her mother Nikki and younger brother Kenny, after her father physically abuses her mother and, eventually, Jayni herself. The family adopt new names to help prevent their father tracing them. Mum becomes Victoria Luck, Kenny becomes Kendall Luck (as it is easy for him to remember) and Jayni becomes Lola Rose Luck. The story deals with the issues of spousal and child abuse and cancer.

Plot summary

In the beginning, Jayni's mother, Nikki Fenton, wins £10,000 on a scratchcard. They decide to not tell Jayni's father, Jay, who she fears will spend it on his friends on drinks at the pub or losing it by going to a betting shop. However, Nikki decides to tell Jay anyway because he reveals he has left his job and is joining a mini-cab firm but needs to provide the car. Jayni, Nikki, Jay and her brother, Kenny, go out to T.G.I Fridays spending around £50 on the meal. Jayni fears for herself because as Nikki and Jay 'drank lots' it would almost always 'end in a fight'. Jay gets angry at Nikki for becoming drunk and when they return home, he starts shouting at her. As Jay goes to hit Nikki, Jayni stops him, telling him not to hit her mum. Jay proceeds to get angry and hit Jayni, he then leaves the house. This was the last straw for Nikki. She had previously put up with the violent nature from her husband, but now he had turned to violence against Jayni, Nikki felt they had to leave.

They gather up as many of their possessions as they can physically carry, and with the money they won from the lottery, catch a taxi to the train station and move to London to begin a new life with new names and hopefully keep hidden away from Jay. They first go into a very tacky hotel and they are forced to change their names so their father won't come looking for them. Kenny thinks it's a game and complains he "doesn't like it" However he eventually realises it is real. Nikki spends hundreds of pounds on treats for herself and the children, taking them to a nearby aquarium. Kenny loves the sharks, but Jayni is terrified of them. Nikki soon realises she will have to find a job and a new home. On the advice of their friendly maid they go to a service to find them a home, (which turns out to be an unkempt council flat) and find it deeply unpleasant until they "do it up".

One night, Nikki goes to the pub to by a packet of cigarettes from the machine, and does not return home until after midnight, but consolingly she has found a new job (bar work), which means working set afternoons, and evenings if she is needed. The next thing to do is to get the children into school. Once achieved, a friend of Nikki's, Jake, comes to stay. One day, Jake reveals "Mum's got a lump," which had been growing in her breast for several months but hoped it would clear up on its own. Meanwhile, Jake moves out because Nikki has run out of money. She has to go to hospital, but believing she will be back the next day, she leaves only a day's food and a little money. The children soon run out of money and food. Jayni finds out where her mother's obese sister Barbara lives, and telephones her. She comes to stay and provides the children with food. Meanwhile Nikki is becoming worse because of an infection following the surgery. Jayni remembers children's stories in which the hero has to perform a terrifying but menial task. She envisions that to get her mother better she has to stand by the shark tank and count sixty seconds, sixty times. This she does. An aquarium worker sees this and says she must be a shark enthusiast. They chat about sharks for a few minutes and he gives her a shark's tooth, which is meant to bring good luck. She goes to the hospital and presses it into her mother's hand. Eventually she gets better and returns home. Jayni knows it has nothing to do with the tooth but it is comforting. Nikki has stupidly telephoned Jay, thinking he will be shocked to discover she has been so ill and never touch her again. He finds a pair of Jake's boxer shorts, then, calling her a slag, balls up a fist to punch her. Barbara raises her fists as if to punch him, then slyly kicks him in the crotch. He proceeds to attack her with a broken mug, so she smacks him on the shoulder taking out the tendon, so that he drops the mug. She then shoos him out, threatening to kill him if he comes back again (though she later admits she didn't mean it). Jayni, Nikki and Kenny feel safe with the protection of Barbara and the book ends on a positive note. Barbara asks the children and finally Nikki whether they would like to come to her pub to live, while they redecorated it (as Barbara likes the job they have done on the house) and did a karaoke act by her and Nikki.

Characters

  • Jayni/Lola Rose Luck:

The main character of the story. She is a little overweight and does not like her appearance. After they leave her Dad, she changes her name and becomes more relaxed and confident. She loves her Auntie Barbara, her Indian best friend,harpreet, her brother Kenny/Kendall and her mum/Nikki.Jayni loves sticking in her scrap book and insists on bringing it in a carrier bag when she moves to london with her mum and brother.

  • Nikki/Victoria Luck/Lady Luck:

The mother of Jayni/Lola Rose and Kenny/Kendall. She tends to daydream and loves men. She was the pretty and skinny daughter but she had an affair with her sister's fiancé and later contracts cancer. She usually has flawed relationships with men.

  • Kenny/Kendall:

Jayni/Lola Rose's younger brother who tends to act in ways similar to those of a baby because of impeded social development. He loves his dad and his mum's boyfriend, Jake and Lola Rose. He has few friends, mostly because he tends to play with things intended for girls. He loves aquatic animals, especially sharks.

  • Auntie Barbara:

Jayni and Kenny's aunt, Nikki's sister. She and Nikki fell out many years before after Nikki ran away with Barbara's fiance. When the children's mother goes into hospital, Jayni is forced to call Auntie Barbara for help. At the end of the novel Barbara invites the family to come and live with her at her pub, The Trout. She keeps them safe no matter what.

  • Harpreet:

Harpreet is Jayni/Lola Rose's best friend. She has a large family who get on with her strict mum. Her little sister Amandeep is friends with Kenny/Kendall.

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