Just before her thirteenth birthday, she decides that she will do her best to combine her two lives. She insists on having one birthday party instead of two. She makes the decision to be called JoEllen by everyone. She invites her city friends to sleepover in the country and invites her cousin to visit her in the city. She cuts her long hair and donates it for cancer patients. She even stands up to the school bully.
I enjoyed this peek into the life of a child of divorce. JoEllen doesn't seem whiny about her separate lives, merely a bit frustrated and uncertain. The catalyst for change comes about in the form of a Language Arts assignment--an autobiography project.
But I don't know which life to describe,As she researches, though, she realizes:
Joey's or Ellen's,
and it's not as if Mom and Dad
share stories of my childhood
over the birthday candles each spring
inhale the same air
if they can avoid it.
makes running the seven-minute mile
in gym class
seem painless by comparison.
...they don't see in me
the mirror image of their mistakes--
or even what they hated in each other--
but the best that
each of them had to offer.