Book 12: Deenie by Judy Blume

Another one day read; or more like a half a day. I picked up this hardcover at the local library today about 12:30 and was home by 1pm to start reading. Finished this by 5:30pm. Judy Blume’s Deenie is a book that is recommended reading for the MasterClass I am taking. I didn’t even know it was a banned book when I checked it out at the library.

Ultimately, I was not a big fan of the story as a whole but I understand it it. Again, we lower ourselves to the level of the children and feel what they are feeling and can believe we are this child who is told she pretty over and over again. Just to find out that she has a scoliosis and has to wear a brace. I don’t know one child that would say this is cool or feel alright about it at first.

During the MasterClass, Judy doesn’t got into this book about the scoliosis aspect but from the aspect of the character and sex. Apparently the book was banned because the tween masturbates many times throughout the book like it was a natural part of growing up. Judy tells us to look at our own lives quite often in the MasterClass. In my world, curiosity about sex was rampant so maybe it is/was normal or maybe not. Deenie never really finds out if she is normal or even if she was the only one of her friends to do it.

What I learn from Stephen King is that if it doesn’t move the story or enhance it, it should be left out. I do believe that those scenes were unnecessary in the bigger picture of the book. Overall, the book was okay… I liked Blubber and Tiger Eyes much more than Deenie.

Book 11: Blubber by Judy Blume

Next up on my reading challenger and my homework for Judy Blume’s MasterClass is the book Blubber. Originally written in 1974, not much has changed in the world of kids. Bullying is just as problematic now than it was in the 70’s. Elisabeth told me that I would probably enjoy this book because of how I grew up.

I don’t know a kid growing up that wasn’t bullied in some way, or was the bully themselves. I don’t think it really hit me until junior high. I remember wearing the same neon green sweatshirt as a pretty girl in my class. Someone said to her, look you guys are twins. She replied something to the effect that the difference was that mine was the size of a tent.

Sometimes, I think bullying is caused by the things you do. Maybe if I had not stood up in front of the entire junior high and dance a one-man Menudo concert (not once, but twice), I might not have been that easy of a target.

The book Blubber talks completely about bullying and how even the one’s who stand up get the tables turned on them. It’s easy to see why kids don’t want to stand up for others and how easy it is to fall into peer pressure. Don’t know if this is recommended reading in schools today, but it should be.

Blume tells the tale without preaching and that was her main goal with writing this book. She let the tables turn even though it was wrong just so that kids realize that everything you do has consequences. The consequence of teasing Linda was the teasing turned to her.

Book 9: Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

Book #9 for the year coincides with the Judy Blume MasterClass that I am taking and part of my first assignment. Judy talks about drawing inspiration from personal experiences. The recommended reading for the MasterClass are two books, Tiger Eyes and Deenie. Tiger Eyes was available digitally from the library so I read that first. Tomorrow, Deenie will be ready to pick up from the library in physical format.

Today’s book took just a few hours to read. Started yesterday afternoon when I took some Zyrtec and dosed off and on while reading and then this morning. Pretty fast read. Blume states that she didn’t subconsciously write this about her past but it was pointed out to her about the similarities between her loss of her father and the character’s loss too. 

Part of the MasterClass homework is to see how those experiences close to you can help form your characters and stories along the way. I think I already tend to do that quite a bit but I know I can reach deeper into my childhood self to find stories within myself.

Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes is sad but honest look at a teenager dealing with the loss of her father and being moved across country, just so they can heal emotionally from the loss. I didn’t find it all that sad though I did think I would probably cry at the end. I did not. I went into the book with a different set of eyes today. I went it to it as a writer; looking for techniques, writing styles, and looking for ways to incorporate what I know into characters that can be relatable. 

With that, I thought it was very good and enjoyed the easy read. Glad to check off another book on my 52 Book challenge.