Another character who fails to reach her potential is Junior's sister, Mary. In the novel, Junior tells us that Mary just "froze" after high school. She became depressed and didn't do anything with her life. She refused to go to college or to try to get a job. Junior relates that his sister's nickname is "Mary Runs Away."
Mr. P later reveals to Junior that Mary enjoyed writing romance stories when she was in school. Junior pictures Mary as a famous romance writer and is sad that she never tried to pursue her dreams of becoming one. Mr. P relates that Mary was a "bright and shining star" who just faded away.
Eventually, Mary marries a man from the Flathead Indian Reservation and moves to Montana. She appears to be happy and begins corresponding with Junior. In her letters, emails, and postcards, Mary tells Junior that she is looking for a job and working on a book about her life. However, tragedy soon strikes: Mary and her husband die in a fire. So, Mary's life is ended before she manages to reach her true potential.
Also, a minor character who fails to reach his true potential is Eugene, Junior's father's best friend. Junior relates that Eugene could have played basketball in college. However, Eugene never learned to read. Because of this, Eugene could neither attend college nor play basketball. Eugene spends much of his time drinking when he isn't working as an EMT on the reservation.
Later in the story, Junior reveals that Eugene died after an alcohol-induced fight with one of his good friends, Bobby. The police believe that Eugene and Bobby likely fought over the last drink in a bottle of wine. So, Eugene is another character who dies before he can realize his true potential.