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Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself (2000)

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself (2000)
Author
Rating
3.96 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0689840896 (ISBN13: 9780689840890)
languge
English
publisher
atheneum/richard jackson books
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Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself...
Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself (2000)

About book: I thought about giving this a five, and it might deserve one.This is Judy Blume's best book. It's written for a younger crowd than her Puberty books, and Sally's concerns lie in the elementary school horrors of shame and embarrassment and trying to fit in. These are conveyed spectacularly well, as when she discovers upon moving to Florida that there are no doors on the bathroom stalls at her new school. Imagine!! The details in this book -- the social necessity of not wearing socks, the way the grass is different in Florida than New Jersey (NJ?) -- totally stuck with me, probably because I reread this book multiple times.But what makes this book spectacular instead of just another kid-issue book is Sally J. Freedman's bizarre, vivid fantasy life, documented in riveting italic sections. The way Sally uses her family's actual experience of the Holocaust as melodramatic fodder for her imagination is dead brilliant: that's exactly the kind of thing kids do! Sally's fantasies were very entertaining, in part because they were so appropriately inappropriate, and were the reason I kept returning to this book. This book provoked a desire to watch an Esther Williams movie, which I have never got around to fulfilling.I wonder if it's as great as I remember it.... did anyone else here like this one?

Sally has to move from her home in NJ to Florida when her brother develops nephritis. Although she's skeptical about moving to Miami with her brother, mother, and grandmother, she quickly adjusts to life at the condo. Sally's imagination runs wild as she makes up stories about her situation... and even believes that Adolf Hitler is living in the condo. She spends the rest of her time hanging out with friends, listening to the party line, and missing her father, who is still living in NJ.This wasn't a bad story, but as you can see from the above, there just wasn't much there. Not much of a storyline, but more of a 'hmmm... let's get inside Sally's mind and Sally's life and see what's going on.' Unfortunately, not having a definite plot does not make for an interesting book.The other problem is that the book is soooo dated. I think a kid today would have a tough time relating to Sally. Sally was probably in fifth grade, but she loved playing potsy, shooting marbles, and was still daddy's little girl. So different from the world we're living in today where fifth graders wouldn't be caught dead playing with dolls and would spend all their time on the iPad. An easy read, but one of the weaker Judy Blume books I've read...
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Reviews
Rachael Eyre
Hmm. This was one of my favourite books aged ten or so, but once the filter of nostalgia is lifted, you come to this realisation: nothing much actually happens. Yes, it's coming of age / slice of life and all that, but Sally doesn't honestly appear to change or grow as a person. The element I remembered best as a kid - her daydreams about Hollywood - wasn't as key as I remembered, and the "Hitler in Miami Beach" storyline could have done with a better denouement too. Mr Zavodsky may not be the Fuhrer in disguise, but you really have to look askance at anyone who goes around with a ready candy stash! Is he supposed to be sinister, or was such behaviour perfectly innocent in those days?It does deserve points for teaching kids about Judaism in a subtle, unobtrusive way; I liked the inclusion of festivals and Yiddish slang. And certainly it gave me my first exposure to the film stars and popular culture of that era.
Colin
I used to looove this. I remember i felt super grown-up reading it because our library had the hard back edition which I thought was extra extra extra long. On re-read, it's still cute, but there's a few things that are fucked up. One is this weird "Latin Lovers" thing the main character goes on and on about, and there's also some fatphobia. Also, perhaps this only bothered me because I happened to read the two one right after the other, but a girl who is doesn't know how to swim, doesn't want to get her face wet and learns how anyway is also a main part of Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. On the plus side, in trademark Judy Blume style, she's frank about puberty and (hetero)sexuality.
Allegra Hailey Green
I adored this book and read it multiple times as a kid, but I think it's best if it's read with a parent or teacher that can explain the situation. Sally's life has been recently affected by the holocaust and she doesn't fully understand it, so reading it as a kid I didn't understand that part of it. It made me terrified to take showers and also that I would go somewhere where there would be no doors on the bathroom stalls (if you've read it you know what I'm talking about)! Also, the sexual overtones went right over my head because I read it when I was 6, but an older child might have some questions after that.
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