Young Jubie Watts learns about racism and segregation in a most dramatic way as her family travels from North Carolina to Florida. It is 1954 and Junebug, or Jubie, as she is sometimes called, is a thirteen year-old girl going on a trip with her mother, sister and their African- American housekeeper, Mary, from North Carolina to Florida. Junebug's father plans to meet them there later. The story then flashes back through Jubie's point of view as she watches her parents from being loving to a father who starts to drink due to a failing business, one that is responsible for serious injuries to others. Jubie's father favors her sister while he takes his anger, sometimes violently, on Jubie. Jubie's father tries to hinder the blacks from being able to gain the vote and makes it clear that the housekeeper is a second-hand citizen; Mary and Jubie, however, have a bond.
During their journey to Florida, their car gets into an accident, which means they have to stay in a town while it is getting fixed. Mary is forced to live in a shack while the family stays in a motel. One morning Jubie finds that Mary is missing and wants to find her. Because she is of color, the law doesn't care that the woman is missing. The further the family had driven South from Charlotte, the more aware Jubie was of racism. When she discovers that Mary's body has been found, after having been beaten, she doesn't understand why her family won't attend the funeral back home where Mary will be buried. Jubie then takes it upon herself and steals the family car, which has been repaired, and drives herself to be with the mourners.
I ached for Jubie as she hides in her house in Charlotte and then makes her way to Mary's funeral. She doesn't understand racism or segregation and her father has little patience for her. The author does a wonderful job of showing how this affects a young girl on the cusp of becoming a woman.
Best part of story, including ending:
This story was so well-written and the character of Jubie fleshed out to believability.
Best scene in story:
When Jubie attends Mary's funeral and how welcomed she was by Mary's family and friends.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked that Jubie was color blind and wanted to honor Mary at her funeral, as sad as it was.