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I know something important now. Don’t ask for a thing unless you know precisely and absolutely what it is you’re going to get and how you’re going to get it.

The short story “John-Jin” by Rose Tremain is about a young girl named Susan whose parents adopt a Chinese baby and name him John-Jin. He was “left wrapped in a football scarf in a woman’s toilet in Wetherby.” Susan’s parents realize John-Jin isn’t growing, so they take him to a specialist who injects him with growth hormones. Ten years later, the family finds out that John-Jin has a disease called CJD that is caused by the injections. Susan talks to her father about John-Jin and asks how he knew he was coming. Her father tells her he didn’t know how John-Jin was coming or when he would arrive. He says he just had a feeling. This story teaches Susan that you can’t ask for something unless you know exactly what you’re getting and how you’re going to get it. It’s a lesson about growing up and realizing that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The unknown can sometimes be scary or amazing, but you don’t know what result you’ll end up getting.

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