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Richie's Picks: LEMONADE MOUTH
on April 6, 2007
After the storm has come and gone
There will never be another tomorrow like today.
In my own way
I wait for the light of dawn
I look for a sign of things to come and change to stay."
--Lemonade Mouth, "Back Among the Walls," from their CD, Live at the Bash.
LEMONADE MOUTH is the story of five socially-struggling high school freshman who come together through a combination of chance and the wisdom of a sorely misused music teacher to form the legendary band, Lemonade Mouth. It all begins on the afternoon when the five students end up in Freshman Detention which is scheduled in the dungeon-like basement classroom of the aforementioned music teacher, Mrs. Reznik.
There is Stella who has begun her freshman year at Opoquonsett High in Rhode Island as the new kid in town. A frustrated student in a family of geniuses and step-geniuses, her mom's new research job has taken Stella unwillingly across the country. She has landed herself in detention for an act of rebellion in response to having previously been sent home for wearing a tee-shirt whose artwork had never been at issue in her old school back in Arizona. But the vice principal has told her, " 'Opoquonsett High doesn't have a dress code, exactly. It's just that we have an unwritten line and that shirt crosses it.' " (As my friend Skeezie Tookis would say, "What kind of stinkin' rule is that?")
There is Wen who is struggling with his feelings regarding his father's buxom twenty-something girlfriend, Sydney. In regard to the humiliating incident in social studies that has landed him in Mrs. Reznik's room, receiving detention as a result of that debacle is the absolute least of Wen's problems.
Mohini must be considered the least likely of the quintet to be in any kind of trouble. The overachieving daughter of immigrants, she has recently exchanged "a lifetime of social obscurity," along with her consistent obedience to her father's strict rules and to her own long-range school and career Plan, for the thrill of being seen around school with an older student who is both a popular soccer star and part of the band Mudslide Crush. It was he who persuaded Mo to skip her Independent Study class; they were subsequently seen and reported.
Meanwhile, Charlie is struggling with his obsession over how fate chose him to be born fine while his identical twin Aaron was stillborn as the result of being strangled by the umbilical cord. Charlie perceives Aaron as a harsh voice in his head who constantly points out what a failure Charlie is. In this instance, he has ended up in Mrs. Reznik's room through his failure to properly aim the spitball that was meant to retaliate for the one with which a renowned school bully had just nailed him in the face.
Finally, Olivia has spent most of her life living with her grandmother after her mother abandoned the family and her struggling father was convicted of murder in a failed store robbery. She finds herself in detention with Stella, Wen, Mo, and Charlie for skipping American lit, where she was facing another in the series of chapter quizzes that "strip away the fun of a good book." Instead of going to class, she gets caught hiding out reading the rest of the book.
Together, as a result of an incident in detention and the subsequent encouragement of Mrs. Reznik, the five pool their hidden talents -- musical and otherwise -- to become the pride of the unsung average and oft-picked on kids at their high school and far beyond it. And, as might be said, the rest is musical history.
"HOLD IT HIGH! RAISE IT UP!"
My heart is singing every time my mind pulls me back to what I just experienced. Count me in as a the #1 charter member of the Lemonade Mouth Fan Club.