Book info

Blubber (2015)

Blubber (2015)
Author
Rating
3.77 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0330398059 (ISBN13: 9780330398053)
languge
English
genre
publisher
macmillan children's books
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Blubber (2015)
Blubber (2015)

About book: I first read this book when I was 9 and loved it and laughed in spite of myself. I knew it was very mean and cruel. As I reached the climax I suddenly realized that what was happening in the book to the victims (Linda "Blubber" and later Jill) was happening to me all the time with my groups of friends from the time I started school! Even preschool and in neighborhood situations, sadly enough. I have been at the middle (like Jill) and bottom (like Blubber) of the pecking order in cliques so I know what it's like. I have been picked on, beat up, tortured, teased, bullied. I was shy and quiet but more outspoken then the passive Linda "Blubber" in the book. The victim Blubber is portrayed as a bland character with not much to stay who lets people walk all over her so she becomes a victim. A few of these reviews sound very mean and almost sick by saying this was a "funny book" about a group of animalistic kids ganging up on someone. I get the impression that those reviews were written by very young readers. I don't recommend this book for young readers at all because of that. They may not understand it. (believe me, i didn't entirely either when i first read it at 9 either!)Also readers too young to understand feelings of others may copy the bad things about the negative characters (Wendy and Carolyn, the follower) like I did at times when I was young (I felt bad about it later and found myslef on the receiving end afterwards). Also the fact that some may not like the idea of a somewhat un-satisfying ending which is disturbing to younger readers.I didn't get the point at the time, but the reason Linda is singled out as a victim is not just due to her weight (although doing a report on a whale may have opened her up to ridicule), contrary to popular belief. If you read chapter 1 about when Jill introduces us to Linda as she is giving her whale report, you notice she just mentions Linda as the "pudgiest girl" in the class but says she's not the largest kid in the 5th grade; there's students who are fatter but not singled out as victims. So obviously that's not the thing that makes her the target. Apparently she's at the bottom of the pecking order because of her lack of personality and initiative.Wendy the ringleader is this overpowering, very pushy, aggressive manipulator. I knew quite a few "Wendy"s in my time. They're the people in who are sorta the homewreckers in your circle of gradeschool friends. They disrupt the peace and break up your friendships by stealing your friends. This book sorta hit home with the issue of loyalties with childhoold friendships and friction between them. I admire Jill and Tracy for standing together. Tracy was so good to Jill even if she probably didn't always agree with what Jill's inappropriate behavior. I had a friend like Tracy who defended me when I was being bullied and kept track of my abusers to tell my mom so we could report it. A lot of time the "Wendy"s get their way even with adults if they're allowed to. I knew a juvenile delinquent who beat me up and mostly got her way even when I ended up taking her to court on charges of harassment and battery.One reviewer stated that there is nothing adults/teachers/principals/school authorities, etc. can do and please, please please listen. I hope y'all will please read this. I am not criticizing anyone but I've been to hell and back. Trust me and don't believe the lie that there's nothing they can do and it's just up to the individual. You can't do it alone and feel like an outcast. It is the teacher's job to protect you and they are getting paid anyway. It sickens me to think of all the teachers striking for months on end in some areas. Some do deserve it if they're good teachers but they aren't even working an 8-hr shift and get weekends and vacations, and what about the ones who won't protect their student's? They need to wake up and pay attention to what's going on around them in class. Teachers need to be tuned in to the students and be on the ball. For this reason I'm glad Judy wrote this book because in jr high and high school I was harassed and wondered why! I was average size in grade school but picked on in jr high when i put on a few lbs. yet I'd see larger girls who apparently weren't victimized. I tried being loud and boisterous to be popular and that didn't work so I tried being quiet as a mouse and they still teased me--could not figure it out!! It wasn't the weight that was an issue! I read an interview with Judy Blume on Blubber and she explains that Linda was passive and kind of brought it on herself; She didn't stand up for herself. I was like that at times and needed to learn to do that. PLEASE do not fall for the lie that children "Ask for it". At school, very often when I'd go to teachers or principals for help and they acted uninterested, their response was that I must have done something to provoke the behavior. This is baloney. The truth is you have a right to an education free of harassment and torment. Some say it's just life and you can't expect much more but that is a crock. Life doesn't have to be like that! Believe me, I have had wonderful teachers who knew how to meet student's needs and teach respect and then again I've had bad teachers with no control and it was chaos. I've seen the good, bad and ugly so i'm not naive. I'm talking about a healthy learning environment. A teacher's job isn't simply to teach 2x2=4 and Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Think about it: 30 years from now; do you remember that stuff or are you more likely to remember the teacher who touched your life by making a difference with kind words, ect. it's more than just knowledge, it's about teaching the golden rule and respect. I loved the book but I have mixed feelings about it so i can't classify it in one category. One reviewer said that parents think this book is realistic and I certainly hope to God this isn't true because it happens all the time in school. Pay attention to what your children are doing and how the teachers are handling things. They say "kids can be cruel". Well that's true. Some pass it off as "kids being kids" but please. We need to train a child in the way they should go. Where are the parents and teachers who are supposed to teach them manners and respect? Instead they act like animals and hoodlums. They say this is just a sad fact of like but this is a fact that needs to be changed. One reviewer said that "apologies rarely come in real life". That's true. I was raised with "good breeding" and always taught manners and if children were taught from birth the civalized way maybe they wouldn't behave this way. Like I said I wouldn't recommend to children under 12 and I'd read it with my kids and discuss feelings with my kids if I did. Like a reviewer said, what comes around goes around. What you sow, you will reap. But what doesn't make sense in the story is Wendy the ringleader is the instigator of the Blubber business. Wendy is cruel and ruthless.If you read original editorial review, note that it was WENDY who passed the note that started the whole thing saying "Blubber is a good name for her" and Jill isn't even thinking of Linda at the time; she's preoccupied with thinking of her plans for Halloween. She doesn't get drawn into it till Linda talks about whale blubber in her report and Wendy starts to laugh. By then word gets spread and everyone is laughing. Jill becomes a willing participant but not the true leader. Not to excuse her; she's just as guilty. But we see how far one person's meanness can get spread. Wendy's influince is all over the class and effects even the principal. Oddly enough when the tables turn it's Jill who becomes the victim, not Wendy. Wendy dosen't switch roles and remains the tormenter but Jill becomes victim and Wendy becomes her bully. Everyone begins ganging up on her. Linda isn't gracious towards Jill's gesture to sorta "rescue" her from the supply closet as Wendy's prisoner. Instead, Linda, a weak, subordinate character, becomes Wendy's "friend" and joins in the gang of tormenters who turn against the new victim, Jill.This book lacks some emotional depth in that it fails to totally identify with Linda's feelings. People think of her as a zombie. But she's a person and we all have feelings. Jill's mom did tell her to put herself in Jill's position but the parents seem so distant in this book! My mom was much more involved! She'd say "How would Linda feel?" and more! Jill has no sympathy for Linda and when the tables turn just has sympathy for herself...I was glad Judy wrote this book and it's a must-read some. It should be banned from some young readers though. It's a message that you can make a difference and you do have the power. It's not about a saccarine lala land. it's about doing your best!

My God, I remember liking this book and the protagonist when I was in 5th grade which is really ironic because that’s when I started getting picked on by so-called friends. As an adult? WOW. I don’t blame the moral guardians for throwing a fit over this book, so many broken aesops and family unfriendly aesops I don't even know where to begin.I think if I read this book again now the only characters I’d like would be Linda (because really what did she ever do to these bitches) and Tracy (a loyal friend even when Jill doesn’t deserve it). And I may have gotten a chuckle out of the girl who wanted to marry a horse, mainly for memetic reasons. But other than that? It's awful.I wish this book had been all about Linda being pushed too far and finally getting some much-needed revenge on those assholes. I’m not saying she should’ve shot up the school or something, but I wish she HAD been the one to get the girls in trouble for the egg prank. And then reported their bullying to the teachers and gotten them detention for the rest of the year. Or just…done SOMETHING to get back at the bullies, and for them to be powerless to do anything else to her. Get her parents involved, get the teachers in hot water for sitting there and doing nothing. Yeah, the world has enough “poor heroine overcomes adversity” stories out there, but Linda getting sweet revenge would’ve been better than Jill being a dick for most of the book.Speaking of Jill, I feel like I might’ve liked her more if she were a secondary character who did a Heel Face Turn. Realized that Tracy was right about her being afraid of Wendy, stood up to Wendy and apologized to Linda, then helped her get revenge on the bullies.Yeah, I know this was written in 1974, back when bullying was just “kids will be kids” and Blume was trying to be realistic, but that’s still no excuse! Even if she had to have Linda get revenge and the whole class learn a heavy-handed lesson about being nice to each other it still would’ve been marginally better than what actually happened!I’m glad I gave my copy of this book away when I had the chance.
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Reviews
Tracy
This is one Blume book I did not read as a child, so this was my first reading. I don't even know how many stars to give this book. I didn't like the story, but yet it wasn't a one-star book. I didn't like it because there is nothing likeable about any of the characters. We see the story through the eyes of Jill, a seemingly normal 5th-grade girl who collects stamps and likes peanut butter. She lives in a nice home in a good neighborhood and has a group of friends. She is a very ordinary person. When her classmates start bullying (abusing) another classmate, Linda, Jill goes right along with it. Her involvement is thoughtless--she doesn't seem to enjoy it, but also, and here is the part that bothered me, she has no qualms about it AT ALL. She feels no unease, no twinges of "maybe I shouldn't be doing this". She does it because it seems to be the thing to do, and then goes about her day like nothing happened. It made me uncomfortable to think children are really like that, that families are really like that, that parents don't notice what's going on right under their noses. I think this is an important book that points out many realities; I'm just sad life might honestly be like this for some people (both the tormentors and the tormentees).
Hasini (Ink On Paper)
When I started this book, I was pretty upset with how narrow-minded Jill was.  It frustrated me to no end and I really didn't like her character.But it wasn't until Jill became victimised that I understood what Blume was trying to point out. They're kids and their focus doesn't extend much past their own problems. It's the popular kid that's the focus point of all the bullying. And everyone takes part in bullying as long as they're not the victim. It's pretty sad to see how it just unroll from there, especially when I've never experienced anything that cruel at that age. I especially loved the author's note at the end where Blume honestly explained the situation in real life, which really got to me. The ending was pretty significant too. There was no significant conclusion there; to me, that implies that regardless of the cruelty of bullying, life goes on as normal. Overall, this book may be a book for younger kids, but reading it is important for all age groups. It gets a very important message through to the reader. That in itself makes this book a very deep one.
Peacha
I did a long in-depth review of this - on my site - http://cliqueypizza.wordpress.com/ entitled Judy Blume's Blubber - Ballad of a Bully - as you can see by the title , I wasn't too impressed by the supposed lesson every reader out there, believes we've been taught. Jill is painted as an unremorseful heroine who blames just about everyone for her actions, most specifically - Wendy. While Linda a.k.a Blubber is a most pathetic victim - never is she given one ounce of dignity, everything associated with her is tinged with black humor making the attack not only justified but her responsibility. By the time the tables our 'turned' on Jill , she still doesn't get it. And neither does she get a fraction of what was dished out to Linda! Though Linda was made the fool in front of students and teachers - Mrs. Minish is now de-fanged , she doesn't care if Jill has brought in her homework and even assures her not to worry. If you're going to read this, be aware of it's flaws and - try out 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes whose bully and victims are better fleshed out without becoming didactic.
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