With Banned Books Week coming up I've been thinking a lot about the books I have read that have been challenged or banned. I feel very strongly that books shouldn't be censored. If you don't like something don't read it. If you don't want your kids to read something, don't let them (though they're probably going to sneak it now that it's forbidden, but that's another ramble). I can't imagine trying to censor the books another person wants to read. So as I've been thinking about Banned Books, that's led me with the desire to re-read one from the queen of the banned book, Judy Blume.
My first experience with Blume's work was in the first grade when my teacher read Freckle Juice to the class. My next experience was when my fourth grade teacher read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. It was around that time that I began picking up more and more of her books, experiences I will never forget.
Today I am writing about Then Again, Maybe I Won't. I totally get why it has been challenged. It does describe things that I can easily understand why parents and adults wouldn't want kids to read it. However, I look back on my pre-teen self and realize that it was a good experience for me to realize "boys do THAT?!" Blume perfectly captures newly turned teen Tony as his family comes into money, moves away from the only life he's ever known, and finds out what it's like to live next door to a gorgeous sixteen-year-old that doesn't remember to pull her shades down. You have to give Blume credit for being able to write a believable story through a young boys perspective.
There is really only one thing I don't like about this book (and it could just be that I have an older copy). Thanks to changes in the world, this book has begun to feel a little dated. Sure, the emotions and hormones that Tony experiences have stayed the same but it's beginning to feel weird when characters aren't able to put cell phones and other technology to use through the course of a book. I recently found out that Are You There God, It's Me Margaret was updated to include some more modern forms of feminine hygiene. Anyone know if Then Again has had a similar treatment?
I f you haven't read Blume's work, you are really missing out. I learned a lot from her books. She writes some of the best characters that have ever graced the literary world. She's the kind of author that has something for everyone and really should be a part of every book collection.