DEENIE by Judy Blume


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Like John Neufeld (see Freddy's Book, KR, p. 817, J-269), Judy Blume seems to be growing impatient with fictional considerations and more preoccupied with her bibliotherapeutic themes -- which is not to deny that this could hit a responsive nerve with her body-centered early adolescent readers. At the beginning Deenie is an ordinary seventh grader preoccupied with making the cheer-leading squad, disgusted by hunchbacks and cripples and a classmate with eczema, and plagued by a stereotypically insensitive mother determined to make a professional model of her pretty daughter. Then the gym teacher suspects and doctors confirm that Deenie has scoliosis, "a structural curvature of the spine which has a strong tendency to progress rapidly during the adolescent growth spurt." The rest of her story -- about half of which seems to take place in doctors' offices, where we are exposed to all the processes involved in making a brace mold, deals with her adjustment to the brace that she will wear for four years in order to grow up straight. Instead of giving Deenie any personality or independent existence beyond her malady, the author throws in the subtopic of masturbation -- Deenie likes to touch her "special place" to get "that good feeling," and is relieved when the gym teacher tells the class it's okay -- which only makes the story's hygienic slant more pronounced.
Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1973
ISBN: 0385739850
Page count: 146pp
Publisher: Bradbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1973



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