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The Face on the Milk Carton Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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No one ever really paid close attention to the faces of the missing children on the milk cartons. But as Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl with her hair in tight pigtails, wearing a dress with a narrow white collar--a three-year-old who had been kidnapped twelve years before from a shopping mall in New Jersey--she felt overcome with shock. She recognized that little girl--it was she. How could it possibly be true?
Janie can't believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, but as she begins to piece things together, nothing makes sense. Something is terribly wrong. Are Mr. and Mrs. Johnson really Janie's parents? And if not, who is Janie Johnson, and what really happened?
From the Paperback edition.
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We've all grown up with those faces staring out at us from the milk carton. What if one day, you are living your life, happy with your parents, and you recognize your face on the milk carton? That is exactly what happens to Janie Johnson in Caroline Cooney's best-selling "The Face on the Milk Carton." A sophomore in high school, Janie has been daydreaming about a more exotic name and bingo, she's Jennie Spring.
She doesn't want to tell the authorities because that would mean her parents, the ones she loves so much, are kidnappers, law breakers, and that just can't be right. She finally shares this burgeoning secret with her boyfriend, next-door neighbor Reeve, a senior.
Too many reviewers wrote spoilers into their reviews, so I'm avoiding that. What I want to emphasize is the mental horror of being the one whose life has been flipped 180. How can she not learn the truth, if there is a truth? She and Reeve take a road trip and learn as much of the truth as they can visually eyeball.
This is a heart-breaking story caused when one person acts irresponsibly. Two families are changed forever, irreparably so.
Another novel, The Deep End of the Ocean (Oprah's Book Club) by Jacquelyn Mitchard and written three years after "The Face on the Milk Carton" addressed a similar situation. A woman takes her three children to a class re-union and loses track of her youngest son for just five minutes and loses him forever. He does show up again, but he is no longer her son.
That's the situation Janie finds herself in. Whose daughter is she, really? The solution determined at the end is as close to reasonable as possible in the circumstances.
But wait, there's more: Whatever Happened to Janie?, then two more in the tetralogy.
This was not her name but she was the girl on the photo. When I read this part in the book I thought how Janie might be feeling in this situation deplorable, furious, or panicked. If I was Janie, I would feel alone if I had nobody to trust and was only on my own. Even when Janie was having a tornado of emotions for the last few months she still kept it a secret from everybody else. Overall, this part of the book made me empathize with her and caused me to experience a lot of emotion when I continued reading. Later in the book, when Janie decided to go in the attic while her so called parents were gone, she notices a big black crate that was locked and had Hannah written on the outside of it. The lock was so rusted Janie was able to break it really easily.
When she opened the crate she saw the same dress the girl was wearing in the picture on the milk carton. Janie ran to her room sat on her bed and thought. This caused me to start questioning what was going on and made me want to continue reading to find out. The book made me think if I were Janie would I think things like, whose Hannah? Is she my mom? Who have I been living with all these years? When her parents got home she talked to both of them and demanded the truth. She didn’t know where or who her real mom was, and if she even had any brothers or sisters. Eventually she realizes she has a loving family that will take care of her and cherish her forever, and that’s family to Janie. My thoughts and emotions at the end of this book are that this is what life is really about, caring and truly being there for someone.