The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney, Caroline Bruce

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Chapter 14 Summary

Janie’s dad is thrilled when she appears at his soccer game. He thanks her for coming and introduces her to all of his players. Afterward, Janie’s mother suggests going out for pizza, which surprises everyone because she usually refuses to feed her family anything but healthful, home-cooked meals. Janie goes to the pizza parlor but finds she cannot eat. Now that she knows the truth about her kidnapping, she is living a lie, pretending that she is still ignorant about her real identity. The thought makes her sick to her stomach.

During dinner, Janie’s mom suggests going to the Adolescent Trauma Center for family counseling. Janie refuses, saying that she wants to work her feelings out on her own. Inwardly, she thinks that it would be horrible to lie to a psychologist; it is bad enough to lie to everyone else. Janie’s dad also rejects the counseling idea. He does not want anyone examining their private lives. Mrs. Johnson seems upset at her family’s reaction to her suggestion.

At this moment, Janie is struck by one of her daymares. She hears herself and a family reciting a rhyming prayer before a meal. The Johnsons have never been religious, so this is definitely a memory from the Spring household. Janie tries to push the words of the prayer out of her head. Her parents, noticing her discomfort, ask what she is thinking about. She says she is fine, but she can hear the false note in her voice.

That night, Janie cannot concentrate on her homework. She grabs a disused diary and starts to write a letter to the Springs inside it. She explains how she found out about herself and how much she likes the life she has lived as Jane Johnson. Once she starts writing, she has trouble stopping. The next day during school, she takes out the diary during English class and writes more. When the bell rings for lunch, she fails to...

(The entire section is 500 words.)