Hope may not know who her father is, or where her mother is, but at the age of 16, she is plunging ahead with life. It’s summertime, and she and Aunt Addy leave Brooklyn to take jobs at a diner in a small Wisconsin town. Addy does the cooking, while Hope is a waitress. She loves being a waitress, and throws her whole heart into the job. The owner, G.T., is struggling with leukemia, but decides to run for the office of mayor. It isn’t long before the townsfolk become like family to Addy and Hope.
What I enjoyed most in the story was the strong character of Hope. She started life with some serious disadvantages, but didn’t consider herself a victim, or expect anyone to pity her. She just accepted life, worked incredibly hard, and kept a positive attitude. I also liked the way the author made a humble job like waitressing sound like the most satisfying job in the world. Perhaps she waitressed as a young woman and had good memories of her work. Whatever motivated her to write “Hope Was Here”, this book reminded me that life is what we make of it.
Excerpt from chapter 15:
But when you’re in food service, you understand that sometimes you’re making up for people in your customers’ lives who haven’t been too nice. A lonely old woman at the counter just lights up when I smile at her; a tired mother with a screaming baby squeezes my hand when I clean up the mess her other child spilled.
You know what I like most about waitressing? When I’m doing it, I’m not thinking that much about myself. I’m thinking about other people. I’m learning again and again what it takes to make a difference in people’s lives.
Other books by Joan Bauer: