Study Guide

Turtle in Paradise Chapter 6

By Jennifer L. Holm

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Chapter 6

The Truth of the Matter

  • You might think kids are sweet, but according to Turtle, they lie all the time. 
  • She's on the porch playing with the paper dolls her mom gave her; Buddy asks her to play marbles, but she's more interested in the dolls. 
  • Aunt Minnie comes out and asks her where she got the dolls because they're hers. It turns out, Turtle's mom stole them from Aunt Minnie years ago, and now Minnie wants them back—stat. Turtle hands them over. 
  • This doesn't really surprise Turtle. After all, her mom's always had a lose definition of the truth; she leaves stuff out of stories all the time. 
  • In fact, the only thing Turtle knows about her own father is that her mom waited around a week for him to ask to marry her when she told him she was pregnant. When he didn't, she took off. 
  • Even so, she really misses her mom. She's never been away from her this long, and she worries about her. 
  • She's spoken to her once in the two weeks she's been down here, and even then, it was super quick. Mama called her to say hi, but then Mrs. Budnick got mad at her for using her phone. 
  • Meanwhile, Aunt Minnie scolds Kermit for playing with the other boys—she's worried that if he runs, his heart will give out. 
  • Once Aunt Minnie is inside, Kermit confesses to Turtle that sometimes he wishes he'd died when he got sick; he's never allowed to run or do anything fun because of his heart condition. 
  • Turtle asks him if he will really drop dead if he runs, or if his mom is just freaking out. Hmm… good question. He takes off like a bolt down the street. 
  • Over on Duval Street, Turtle notices that things are a little nicer. There's a hotel, some restaurants, and most importantly, no trash. 
  • She thinks about the fact that everyone has a weird nickname. Kermit calls out to people with names like Fat Rat and Cheap John.
  • Why do they call people such things? 
  • Turtle wants to get a job, so she asks Kermit for help; he explains she can't be in the Diaper Gang on account of the fact that she's a girl. 
  • But she can ask Johnny Cakes for work. He's a rumrunner, which means he brings rum in from the Bahamas. 
  • When Kermit asks why Turtle needs work, she explains that it's to save for the Bellewood. Duh. 
  • Kermit takes her to the café where Johnny hangs out, but he doesn't really want to hire a kid—after all, his work isn't exactly legal. 
  • There's a writer sitting next to Johnny who talks to Turtle about the funny pages for a little bit. Just then, Slow Poke comes in, gives an envelope to Johnny Cakes, and starts talking to Turtle. 
  • He also loves the funny pages, so Turtle gives it a shot with him. Maybe he'll hire her. 
  • When she asks him for a job, he says he could use another hand, so meet him at the docks the next morning—bright and early. 
  • She's excited to have work, and before she goes, she tells the writer he should try to get in the funny pages. How else will he be successful?

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