Author: Judy Blume
Reading Range: 3.8 (AR Finder)
Interest Range: 4-8 (AR Finder)
Plot: Linda is the girl in class that everyone makes fun of. They call her Blubber because she is overweight and she presented a report about whales. The story is told from the point of view of Jill. She is one of the girls who is teasing Linda. The main person who is teasing Linda is Wendy. Wendy controls the classroom and all the students follow her. Linda threats Jill after one bullying incident. On Halloween night, Jill and her friend, Tracy Wu, play a prank on their mean neighbor. He catches them and their parents agree to have them clean his lawn to make it for it. While cleaning his lawn, Jill realizes that Linda must have told on her and Tracy to their neighbor. She decides that she needs to get back at Linda. She tells Wendy and they decide that Linda needs to be put on trial by the whole class. They put Linda in a closet during lunch and are about to start the trial when someone reminds them that Linda needs a lawyer to defend her. Jill agrees that in order for it to be right Linda needs a lawyer. Wendy disagrees and says to go on with the trial. Jill lets Linda out of the closet because she disagrees with Wendy. The next day Wendy starts to target Jill for bullying. Jill has to figure out what to do.
Review: I read this book a number of times and I like the fact that Judy Blume is able to capture what it is like to be that age. Kids can be cruel to each other. I think people forget that we need to teach kids how to be kind to each other. At that age, it is very easy to think that anyone who is different is wrong. Linda is an easy target because of her weight and her gray tooth. What I mean by that is they like getting her. For example, a boy shows Jill his hand and there are pins in it. She did not respond because she knows the trick but Linda screams when she sees it. This book is not told from Linda’s view but Jill’s view. Jill does not have a lot of empathy for Linda. There is a scene where Linda, Jill, and Jill’s brother, Kenny, are at a party together. Kenny and Linda are able to talk and get along. Kenny thinks Linda is interesting while Jill can only see her one way.  Honestly, I did not like Jill because she is a mean girl. She may not have been the one leading in the teasing but she took part. I am hoping she started to get it a little when she was teased by Wendy but I am not sure. I would recommend this book to tweens but also to their parents. I think this is good to read to remind adults how cruel kids can be.
Additional Info:
According to the American Library Association (ALA), “Blubber” is a book that has been frequently challenged or banned. It has made the top 100 lists of frequently challenged books from 1990 to 1999 and from 2000 to 2009.  In fact, many of Judy Blume’s books are frequently challenged or banned. The story is told from Jill’s point of view and Jill is not a nice girl. It can seem that bullying is apart of school culture and just sometime to accept from this book. I think that disturbed parents reading it. I think that this book is a warning to adults about what can happen when teachers are not aware of what is happening in their classrooms. While reading this book, I noticed that a lot of the things that happened to Linda might not have happened if the teachers knew what was going on.
Main Characters:

Jill Brenner —She is the main character in the book. She takes part in the bullying of Linda. She starts to get bullied by Wendy when she turns against Wendy.

Wendy —She is in the same class as Linda and Jill. She is the popular girl in class and everyone follows her. She is the one that mainly bullies Linda. She starts to bully Jill when Jill crosses her.

Caroline —She is in the same class as the other girls. Caroline is Wendy’s best friend and her “muscle.” She follows Wendy’s orders.

Linda Fischer —She is the girl who is bullied by the other kids in class. She is called blubber because of her report on whales.

Kenny Brenner — He is Jill’s little brother.

Tracy Wu —She is Jill’s best friend. They are not in the same class. They both get in trouble because of a prank they play on a mean neighbor.

Gordon Brenner —He is Jill and Kenny’s dad.

Ann Brenner —She is Jill and Kenny’s mom. She is trying to quit smoking.

Theme: Injustice, Manipulation, Vulnerability of the meek, Power and corruption

Bibliographic Info:

Blume, J. (1974). Blubber. New York, NY: Bradbury Press



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