Character Study: Celine & Julie from Double Teenage

May 24, 2016

Meet Celine and Julie, the two young teenagers who are coming of age in the 1990s along the US-Mexico border in Double Teenage by Joni Murphy (BookThug). Through their love of theatre they find their way into a wider world, rich with opportunity, but at the same time, dense with situations of peril and violence. Below author Joni Murphy shares with us some details into the lives and experiences of her main characters.

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Meet Celine and Julie, the two young teenagers who are coming of age in the 1990s along the US-Mexico border in Double Teenage by Joni Murphy (BookThug). Through their love of theatre they find their way into a wider world, rich with opportunity, but at the same time, dense with situations of peril and violence. Below author Joni Murphy shares with us some details into the lives and experiences of her main characters.

 

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The main characters of Double Teenage are, as the might title suggest, two young girls. As with many pairs, friendship makes Celine and Julie similar. Similarity itself is a theme. Violence and trauma are the other major concerns of the book.

These girls are middle class in a poor county in the poor region of Southern New Mexico. While the girls are changing, their country and continent are also undergoing major political and cultural changes.

The book is full of questions of becoming: How do our intimate relationships heighten likeness? Can love help us escape violence or is hurt always a potential twisted into care? How do our friendships, schools, art influences and our historic moment shape us, inside and out?

These characters live intensely within a web of material things and cultural references. These characters live in the world of New Mexico during the Clinton years and Portland in late grunge, and Vancouver pre Olympics. The world of this book is littered with thrift store sweaters and Liz Phair CDs, stretch velvet dresses and the script for the play Marat/Sade, bongs made of apples and David Lynch movies playing on a second hand TV in a college apartment. These characters have imaginary skin that touches against the girl friends you’ve seen huddled in small town coffee shops and Robert Altman’s films. They are highly visible and almost invisible. You recognize them when you see them.

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Thank you to BookThug, especially Hazel Millar, for connecting us to Joni, and to Joni for sharing some insight into the minds of her characters Celine and Julie.


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