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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Money Hungry is a young adult novel about a young teen named Raspberry Hill, only thirteen years old, who is truly "money hungry."  The title is literally a description of the main character at the beginning of the book.  Raspberry will literally do ANYTHING legal to get her hands on some money. 

I wouldn't do nothing bad. Nothing that would hurt people, like selling dope, or shoplifting.

This is significant in that at least Raspberry is determined to get her money by honest means.  She resents Check and Shoe (her neighbors) who have stooped to help drug dealers in order to get money for food. In this honest way, she becomes a heroine of sorts.  We watch the main character as she tries a whole bunch of things:  participates in a car wash, tries to sell candy that has gone bad, endeavors to skip her lunch to gain the money from it, cleans houses for cold hard cash, etc.  Raspberry's desire for money turns into an obsession.  Why is this so?  Raspberry used to be homeless and is determined NOT to be homeless again.  Now she lives in a housing project, but longs to move with her mother to an even safer area.  Where now she washes cars and cleans houses, she USED to sleep in the street and eat scraps.  Raspberry is determined to NEVER do these things again, so she thinks that delving into cold hard cash is the answer.  Unfortunately for Raspberry, all she cares about is money... and money isn't the only thing that matters in life.  Raspberry finds power in the "crinkle" of the money.  She finds love by "kissing" it.  She finds contentment in "smelling" it.  Raspberry thinks she has found her one true love in money. 

Soon, Raspberry's mom finds the huge stash of money that Raspberry has been saving.  Thinking that it is stolen money acquired by dishonest means, her mom throws all the money out the window.  To add insult to injury, their apartment is broken into and everything stolen. 

How does Raspberry learn that money isn't everything?  Simple.  It isn't her cash that brings about positive change!  It is her mother's cool thought process and the generosity of neighbors!  It turns out that the support of family and the community is MORE important than money!  Only those two things can help break the cycle of poverty and DOES break that cycle in Raspberry's case.

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Money Hungry is a young adult novel by Sharon G. Flake, a novelist born in 1955 in Philadelphia and raised in an inner-city neighborhood. Much of her work addresses people growing up in poverty and dealing with issues of race. Flake's first young adult novel was the bestselling The Skin I’m In (1998). Money Hungry (2001) has also won several awards and she has continued to write and publish several other works for young adults. She credits the birth of her daughter, Brittney, as the main inspiration for her fiction.

The protagonist of Money Hungry is the thirteen-year-old Raspberry Hill. Her family has been homeless in the past. Now they have been approved for Section 8 housing, a program of federal rent assistance to low-income families. Now they live in a home in Pecan Landings, but still in a financially precarious situation. Raspberry is determined to avoid homelessness in the future and she obsesses about how to raise and save money, willing to do anything that is not illegal or morally wrong. She skips meals, washes cars, cleans houses, and does whatever she can to save cash. Despite her hunger for money she is very ethical and objects to people who deal drugs or steal. Gradually, the novel achieves a resolution in which Raspberry learns to value friendship as much as money, and bonds of community help the family keep their home.

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