THE HAUNTING OF JULIE UNGER by Valerie A. Lutters

THE HAUNTING OF JULIE UNGER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Despite the occult come-on of the title and a deceptively spooky jacket photo, this turns out to be a thoughtful period-of-adjustment story. Following her father's fatal heart attack, Julie (twelve-ish) moves to Yorkford, Maine, with Mom and five-year-old Amy to live with Gram. Miserable without Papa and her one back-home friend, Julie finds some solace snapping pictures of wild Canada geese--just as she and Papa always did on previous summer vacations. Down at the cove where the geese flock, Julie first encounters the ""ghost"" of Papa--pipe-smoking and supportive as ever--who promises to stick around for as long as Julie wants. Only after she indirectly causes the death of a few geese (because of all the food she keeps leaving, they've grown too tame and make easy targets for hunters) does she own up to the need of letting go--both of the geese as well as her overweening and, at bottom, guilty attachment to Papa. Although the simultaneous exit of ghost and geese is staged too patly, Lutters, like her heroine, has a trained photographer's eye. She catches subtle shadings in all her character portraits--even in recognizable types like an eccentric but oh-so-wise neighbor lady. And the warts-and-all close-ups of Julie, sullen, sarcastic, and self-pitying, stand out in remarkably sharp focus.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1977
Publisher: Atheneum