After watching the Judy Blume documentary on Amazon, I decided to get a copy of Deenie. It was one of her books I’d not read. In the doc they mentioned she finally starts saying No and standing up for herself. Something that took me until my 40s to do. I wish I’d read this book in my teens. Maybe I wouldn’t have grown up to be a highly successful people pleaser.
I’ve filled a lot of my adult life reading self help books. Anything else is TV or scripts. But I couldn’t seem to put Deenie down. I had no idea it dealed with disability, and Deenie handled it like a champ! And a little too much like a champ, but I was still enjoying Ms. Blume’s writing.
This book really hit home. It made me cry a lot. If I had read this close to the time I was diagnosed with a vision loss, it might have helped a little with accepting the cane, not driving, and the whole plethora of lifestyle changes along with familial and society’s perception. However, I don’t recommend this to everyone who is newly diagnosed with a disability because rarely does anyone just own it as quickly as Deenie Fenner did.
Why can’t we all have a sister like Helen and how supportive she was? Honestly talking to Deenie, coming to her when her mom couldn’t face her, offering clothes, haircut, and every step of the way, Helen was there for her. Her friends, too. After Deenie called them out for pretending like nothing was wrong, they flat out said, we didn’t know what to say. But…they showed up anyway.
Eh-hem. Did you have those people around? A lot of times our family members don’t understand what we’re dealing with, avoid the conversation, or avoid us altogether. A lot of times they think we’re making it out to be more than it is, because like Deenie’s mom, they can’t face that we have ‘something’. It’s more embarrassing for them. Or we had the ‘friends’ who dramatically tell you they’ll be there for you and quickly disappear or fade away – all puns intended for those of you who are blind or low vision.
After finishing the last chapter, there is an excerpt from Judy Blume stating that she wrote this about a ‘girl she met’. Ugh. No wonder it wasn’t a lot of our true experiences. But then Judy went on to say that the girl accepted it and her mother didn’t, and this is what she wanted to point out. She says this book is about parental expectations. That part really did stand out about her mother, but to me, it was only the shadow and scoliosis was in the spotlight.
All in all, from the moment I got the book, I couldn’t stop reading until it was finished, because Judy is such an excellent writer! I felt so proud that I couldn’t put it down.
This book has changed my mind about not having enough time for fiction books, thanks to an incredible writer like Judy Blume. And while I’ve never been married and don’t ever plan to be, and I’ve lost my virginity a million times already, maybe I’ll read Wifey or Forever. I don’t have scoliosis and I’m not in junior high, but I sure felt like it while reading Deenie.