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“June”

In bed that night, I touched my hips where June’s hips had been.  I didn’t want to think about that afternoon, because every time I did, I wondered if Brian and Annette had been peering through the window, watching us.  Sometimes I thought: maybe they didn’t see.  Sometimes, I thought: thank God I didn’t take off my clothes.  I did not think of June and what she ahd said about my father not catching her: thinking about it risked telling; telling meant terrible danger for me, I was sure.

In McCracken’s “June,” we meet a Phoebe, a girl who struggles with the adaptation to a new town, new friends, a new life.  The person you first meet in a new place can completely change your life.  If you meet a Christian girl who goes to church every sunday, odds are you are going to go along with her to have a friend- and eventually will be a Christian as well through the conditioning that had done to you.  In Phoebe’s case, she meets a troubled child who lashes out due to her buried sorrows- rightfully so.  With June’s home life, it is expected for a child to reach out to a friend in the way she does, making Phoebe feel inferior, like Phoebe needs her:  in reality, it is the opposite.  June needs Phoebe to feel normal- to feel like her world is not falling apart, as it is.  When Phoebe begins to steal and transform into June, the reader feels compelled to read on to see how Phoebe ends the story.  Does she begin to vandalize cars as well?  Or does she stand up to June and do the right thing, and turn her in?  When I first moved to Northern Virginia from Atlanta, Georgia, I can remember being scared out of my mind, sitting in Kindergarten, waiting for someone to say “hi” to me.  Instead, I walked up to the first girl I saw, Lindsay Beach, and introduced myself.  She grabbed my arm and said to me, “Let’s play house, you are the Daddy because I’m too pretty to be the Daddy, and you are ugly.”  If I hadn’t of freed my arm from Ms. Beach, and find Katie Sutton, then I most likely would have strangled cats with twine as well, as June had in the story.  McCracken uses this classic “coming of age” story about a young girl struggling with her identity while trying to fit in to bring the reader into empathizing with Phoebe, and recollecting what it was like to try and meet friends, all while staying true to yourself.

 

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