So this year I discovered Judy Blume with Are you there God? It’s me Margaret. Yes, I know, only decades after the rest of the world.
With this realization I finally moved onto conquering more of her book list, and my next choice was another famous one, Blubber.
And yet again, I am in love with Judy Blume.
Blubber is about a chubby girl in grade five who one day for class does a presentation on whales. That innocent choice makes it easy for the class bully, a horrible girl named Wendy, to nickname her Blubber and to mark her out for torment. This bullying, awful treatment, is dehumanizing, disgusting, and depraved. Blubber, whose real name is Linda, has done nothing to deserve this, but Wendy and her posse make this terrible treatment a natural everyday occurrence. All this constantly building tension pops into a surprising game change, one with far reaching repercussions, and several valuable life lessons.
One of the most fascinating aspects that Judy Blume incorporates into Blubber is the point of view. Is this told from the bully’s perspective? Offering us insight into why someone would do this? No. Is it told from the victim’s outlook? Giving us a breakdown of what she is suffering? No.
Blubber comes from the view of one of the bully’s enablers, a girl named Jill. She is scared of Wendy, but hates to admit it, so she goes along with all the vile things that happen. She justifies it all with warped logic and unjustified conclusions that blame Blubber for so much. Blume shows us how the bystanders let these injustices go on and on by providing us Jill.
She is described as a hard person to get along with right from the start, and as becomes clear throughout the book, hides her fears very well. Jill is shown to suffer from an inferiority complex, both of her parents are white collar professionals in high intellect positions, while she hates the fact her math skills are sorely lacking. This feeling of inadequacy causes Jill to create a tough exterior, a fact even her mother and best friend comments on, but that she tries to ignore. When the final chapters slam through, Jill is at the center of it all and finds herself ill equipped to handle all that is occurring.
Blume provides a very rich open tapestry with a past and a future with Blubber. Life will go on, and we all wish we could pop back into this classroom again. Just to make sure Blubber and Jill are okay.
…is currently reading The Death And Life Of Superman by Roger Stern.