Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Review: Blubber by Judy Blume

Blubber by Judy Blume
Publisher: Yearling
Publication date: 1974
ISBN: 9780440407072

Source: Library


When Jill joins with some of the other girls in class in teasing another student, Linda, she doesn't expect things to get out of hand.  Calling Linda "Blubber" was one thing - after all, she did her report on whale blubber - but the jokes get more and more cruel.  Little does Jill expect the teasing to backfire in the way it does.

Things I Liked:
It really felt like how elementary/middle school was!  While reading this, I remembered how mean the other kids in my class were to another girl.  Fortunately, I recall that I was not one of those.  At least for this individual.  I think I probably did at one point engage in making fun of at least one other person during that time (probably more).  It was really quite horrifying to see the things that other girls would do to one another at that age.  Very excellent at capturing the time and also at reminding us how quickly others can turn against us at that age (or really at any age).  It definitely made me think.  I read this for the Banned Books Challenge, and the only thing I can think people would object to is the fact that the teasing is so cruel.  But it isn't like they don't see that at school (unless they're homeschooled, I guess).

Things I Didn't Like:
I really wanted to believe kids would not be that cruel in fifth grade.  I almost starting crying a few times. There did seem to be some tangents that didn't quite relate to the main story - like their Halloween antics - but still I think it will have great appeal to kids today.  Even in spite of the quite aged cultural references.

Numerous other Judy Blume titles 

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

s-factor: !
a few

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->
some rather disturbing teasing, but nothing truly violent

Overall rating: ****

I'm feeling pretty sad because there are so many Blume titles I didn't discover as a kid - were you a Blume fan during your tween years?

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I was definitely raised on Blume. Forever was definitely life-changing for me. I read it as a high school freshman. Couldn't have come along at a better time.

  2. I loved all things Judy Blume as a tween, and this book was no exception. Unfortunately, I think things like this happen a lot amongst tween girls. Sad. And really interesting.

  3. Such a classic! This was definitely up there as one of my Blume faves along with Are you there God, it's me Margaret?

  4. Bookshelf Monstrosity, I never picked up Forever (and probably never will) but I've heard lots of people say that about it!

    Jessica, I imagine it is fairly common, but really made me sad.

    Amused, I read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret as well and it was a first for me. Really, Blume is such an excellent tween author!

  5. I loved thus book as a kid! I need to buy a copy of it for my stepdaughter.

  6. Stephanie, I can't wait to share my favorite books with a kid of my own!

  7. I obsessively read all of her books as a girl and actually re-read this one last year; I was expecting it to feel dated, but instead was struck by how much of it travels across that years with authenticity. And I was struck, too, by the realism: there were no easy answers. Maybe that's why it still resonates now.

  8. Oh my gosh, BLUBBER is one of those books I remember VIVIDLY from childhood. I loved Judy Blume since she seemed to totally get what it was like to be a kid. I really need to re-read her books as an adult and see how the experience compares.

  9. Buried in Print, there were only a few phrases here and there that dated it, but it really does have a timeless feel. I loved that things didn't work out perfectly.

    Susan, I'm totally wishing now that I'd read more Blume as a kid. I think I would have gotten much more from it then.


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