Stephanie Bradt: Basically, DEENIE is typical Judy Blume. The title character finds out she has scoliosis and she is sad. After all, she wants to be a model and stuff. Actually, this dream is not so much Deenie's, as it is her over-bearing mother's dream. Her mother is such a b*tch, too. Instead of supporting and trying to console Deenie, the mother just makes our poor protagonist feel worse. This relationship never improves and by the end of the book, nothing is resolved. However, Deenie is finally happy and is comfortable with her body when this boy (the name escapes me) finally agrees to make out with Deenie even though she is wearing her back brace. What a wonderful message.
Of course, this would not be a Judy Blume book without a token let's-try-to-get-this-book-banned moment. As mentioned in a previous Bradt Cousins review, there is only a sentence or two in this book that gets the entire thing banned. And it is completely irevelant. Basically, when Deenie is sad, she feels better when she touches her "special place." Thanks, Judy.
Jordan Bradt: Every summer, the Kirkland Town Library hosts a book sale in the Village Green of Clinton, NY. It starts on Friday and starting at 8 pm on Saturday, the leftover books are free (until gone). Stephanie grabbed a copy of DEENIE by Judy Blume. It is about a young girl who finds out she has scoliosis and needs to wear a back brace.
Just by looking at the cover, the book screams 1970’s. It was indeed written in 1973, and many parts reminded me of the 70’s. Deenie’s friends buy her a nightie. Do people say “nightie” anymore? Also, her friend Janet hosts a party in her basement. It reminded me of That 70’s Show.
Overall, I hated the book and I don’t think it is appropriate for junior high students (the target audience) because it keeps mentioning masturbation. Not only does Deenie touch her “special place” in order to fall asleep, but the gym teacher leads a long class discussion about it. Why?! The topic did nothing to add to the story and just felt very random.
Deenie was named after a movie, but the book never mentions a specific movie, so maybe Judy Blume made up that part. The story contained no character development. At the end, Deenie was still a whiny girl. Her mom was still mean and still pressuring Deenie to become a model against her wishes. Her sister is still sweet. Her dad is still a bit wishy-washy, but nice. Her friends are still normal teenagers. Oh, and the boy she likes? He is upset about her wearing the brace and cutting her hair, and gets mad when she doesn’t want to make out, yet she stays with him. That really irritated me and ruined the ending.
There was so much Judy Blume could have done with this story. I’ve never read another YA book about scoliosis. Yet, she lacked character development and the masturbation just made me cringe.