The book can be purchased at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Then-Again-Maybe-I-Wont/Judy-Blume/e/9780440486596/?itm=1&USRI=then+again%2c+maybe+i+won%27t
Stephanie Bradt: What can I say about this book? Well, it is a Judy Blume book. That statement is not a cop-out, for the fact that the book is a Judy Blume book says a lot about it already. Judy is sitting there like “Here I am in 1971. Instead of writing a good book, let me just write a book that I know will make the banned books list.” And it is true; arguably some of the best books ever written have been banned at one point or another, and those are the ones we hear about all the time. Any publicity is good publicity. I understand that in order to make a YA book like this believable and realistic, some of the plot will end up controversial. The funny thing about Judy Blume books, though, is that many times Blume includes the most random perverted plots just for the sake of them being there…and for the sake of making the banned books list. She will insert one sentence that has nothing to do with the story and the reader is sitting there like, “WTF?” Supposedly, only two sentences put her book DEENIE on many banned book lists. They had nothing to do with the rest of the story. Google it.
So yeah, back to the book. THEN AGAIN, MAYBE I WON’T was written as a kind of male equivalent to her earlier and still most popular book, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET. So she interviewed a bunch of teenage boys about what they were going through (awkward) and threw some of these experiences into her book to be experienced by our first person protagonist, 12-year-old Tony. Basically, Tony’s dad strikes it rich and brings the family to the rich part of the city and the family’s lifestyle change takes some getting used to. Meanwhile, Tony has the typical problems that all teenage boys go through. And he handles them the same way everyone does, he becomes a voyeuristic creeper who spies on his next door neighbor’s hot older sister by looking at her with his binoculars through his window. And then has dirty thoughts about her. He also enjoys reading romance novels with said sister’s younger brother and paper clipping and highlighting the juicy parts and having dirty thoughts about those, too.
Oh, and he has a grandma who lives with him (she stays in her bedroom all day) who the family neglects. And his perv friend is also a little kleptomaniac, a problem that presents a moral dilemma to Tony: Should he be friends with someone like this? So, he does the only rational thing there is to do when one is presented with a choice like this. He has stomach pains and passes out. This book summed up: “What was the point to this story?”
Then Again, Maybe I Won't (read this book).
Jordan Bradt: In my children’s literature class, we discussed the authoress Judy Blume, but THEN AGAIN, MAYBE I WON’T is the first book I’ve read by her. When I think of the book, these are the points that come to mind:
1) The grandmother. She has no larynx, so she can’t speak. Okay, this brings awareness about this sort of thing to a youthful audience. The family treats her like crap, and even at the end of the book, they don’t change. She locks herself in her room because she doesn’t get along with the maid. Hello – fire the maid and take care of Grandma!
2) The main character is named Tony. His older brother, Vinnie, died in the war. Because this book was written in the 70’s, it’s the Vietnam War. The book mentions Vinnie a few times. I would have liked to see it delve more into this topic, because many boys do lose older siblings due to war.
3) Right away, Tony discovers his brother Ralph is going to have a baby. Ralph’s wife cries, and then goes to throw up. I don’t really feel like I need to say more. Oh, and the baby is named after Vinnie, even though she’s a girl.
4) Tony’s father strikes it rich with an invention. (He finally put his plan into action because the family needs money for Ralph’s baby) They move to a rich neighborhood. I felt bad for not being rich – why don’t I get a closet with a light that automatically comes on when you open the door?
5) Tony’s next-door neighbor, Joel, is a jerk. He lies, steals from stores, and makes prank phone calls. Tony gets horrible stomachaches because he feels guilty for not telling on Joel. Okay, Tony dear, I don’t care if Joel might not be your friend anymore. TELL YOUR PARENTS WHAT HE’S DOING! That’s what parents are for, to help their kids. Parents and children need better communication skills.
6) Tony wants wet dreams. He gets boners, and tries to figure out how to hide them. He and Joel read romance novels. (Joel puts paperclips on the sexy pages) Tony also watches Lisa, Joel’s older sister, get dressed in front of the window. He uses binoculars to spy on her. The novel never makes that seem wrong. Well, kids, guess what – THAT IS WRONG.
7) Tony is 12-years-old at the beginning of the book, and then turns 13. This is apparently the age range for the novel. In my opinion, the topics mentioned are more for older Young Adult than Middle Grade. I guess some kids might be ready for it, but if a parent buys this book thinking it’s age appropriate, it my opinion, it’s not. Ooh, maybe I’m sheltered?
8) The book was okay. Since I have my bachelor’s degree in elementary education, I felt the need to make a lesson for it. Then, I grew bored and decided I’d teach it in a health class, geared toward boys and the “changes” their bodies go through. You know, like when you want to go touch yourself while spying on your naked neighbor.