Believe it or not, Judy Blume’s Deenie was published in — a true throwback novel. But I — and I assume most twentysomethings and. So it should resonate as a surprise that, when I got my back brace at age 14, I avoided reading Deenie, Judy Blume’s seminal book on the. Deenie by Judy Blume – Scoliosis twists Deenie’s plans for seventh grade in this classic Judy Blume novel with a fresh new ‘s mother wants her to be .
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Your tax-deductible donation made to LARB by Judy Blume was interwoven with my tween years as much as slam books, homework, and awkward flirtation with boys.
Pre-teen life was complicated and weird, but by addressing it so straightforwardly, Blume made it feel a bit more manageable. I lived through it 23 hours a day for three years. In truth, I was afraid to read the book. I managed my feelings about the brace with the ultimate anti-Blume strategy: I figured that if I joked about my situation in what appeared to be an upfront, healthy fashion, my friends would leave me alone.
Everyone laughed, and that was it. Later, when we played Truth or Dare, the boy I liked kissed my elbow on a dare. It made me very happy, yet very sad.
Deenie: Book Summary
A boy or two may very well have been willing, but I could not believe it. I became very good at turning men into friends instead of boyfriends. When I finally read Deenie, a year or so into my regimen, the book made me angry. The main character is a beautiful seventh grader whose mother is pushing her to become a model. The process of getting fitted and accustomed to the brace is excruciating for Deenie, and reading about it was painful for me.
I skipped entire paragraphs. This book was messing up my denial. This, bulme, is the main theme of the book — how parents project their own needs on their children, and how destructive that can be.
Certainly a universal and important topic to address, but for me this was heresy. The brace as liberator? The brace taught me I could endure anything with a smile and a fake confident attitude, and it probably prevented my scoliosis from worsening feenie the point where I needed surgery.
Other than that it was a prison. My body was so deeply buried beneath the plastic that my own flesh and blood no longer seemed real. When my doctor told me I could swim in it I laughed in his face. When cute senior Ted Peters grabbed me around the waist, felt the hard plastic, and asked me, very nicely, what that was, I turned away, quit flirting with him, and denie my distance.
Then, several years ago, I read Deenie again. No flopping, no dancing, no curling up in bed with the dog, no more handstands in the pool.
The brace made everything different. Reading these scenes a second time was no less painful than the first. Physical memory is powerful. I felt again how the plastic jabbed up under my left armpit if I denie down too suddenly.
On hot days the sweat-soaked undershirt would stick to me and wrinkle uncomfortably under that heavy shell.
Deenie by Judy Blume
The purple bruises at my waist took months to heal. But even though I was able to appreciate the power of the brace scenes, I found another problem with the book: Deenie holds hands with a boy at a movie and later makes out with him at a dance. All of these episodes are depicted with unfailing realism, so what was my issue?
Intellectually, I admired Blume for effortlessly covering so much emotional territory in one small story. If you asked my friends about me during high school, the brace would not have been the first, second, or third thing they brought up. In fact, most of what happened to me in high school had nothing to do with the brace.
Late in junior year, blme I took it off for good, my mother and I threw it away with little ceremony. No trumpets blazed, no transformation took place. About a week after I finished the book for the second time it hit me.
Judy Blume was right. Not by a long shot. I played spin the bottle, went to the prom, sang in the choir, started my own club, got a job at Judg King, and bought my first record album with money I earned myself.
But mostly I had amazing family and friends who often forgot that I wore a brace. They knew, as Judy Blume had, that it did not define me. Up in the Canyons: Media All the Way Down: Art and Conspiracy at the Met Breuer. Letter to the Editor: By Min Hyoung Song. By submitting this form, you are granting: On Reading Deenie Twice.
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