Summary: I want a mother and a father and I want them to live together-right here-in this house! Karen Newman can't believe it when her father moves out. How could her parents do this? Don't they know they belong together? Somehow Karen has to get her mom and dad to talk to each other face-to-face. Maybe then they'll realize divorce is a mistake. But can she think of a plan soon-and one that works? -- Yearling
As part of the Shelf Discovery Challenge and the Shelf Discovery/Judy Blume Mini Challenge (hosted by Kathy/Bermuda Onion), I've been reading a lot of Judy Blume books. Most of these books have been re-reads, but one that I don't remember reading as a kid is IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.
IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD is basically the "divorce" book. It tells the story of a family who is torn apart by divorce through the eyes of Karen, the middle pre-teen child. This novel not only shows the effect that the parents' disagreements have on the kids, but it shows how difficult it is when one parent decides to leave for good. It shows the tension, emotions, and change that the children experience through an act that they have absolutely no control over. As a parent, this novel definitely touched my heart. However, I really appreciated the overall message that divorce isn't easy for kids, but it's also "not the end of the world."
For some reason, I thought this book was written by Ms. Blume in the 1980s when so many kids were dealing with broken homes. It wasn't until I picked up this book last week, that I realized that it was written in the early 1970s. I believe that this book was probably way ahead of its time -- long before 50% of marriages were ending in divorce. I like that it set out to provide some comfort to children who were going through their parents' split.
The copy of IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD that I read had a note written by Ms. Blume in the beginning that I found very interesting. She talked about how she dedicated this book to her husband, even though her marriage was in trouble. She wasn't ready to admit it at the time, but a few years later her family actually experienced divorce and discovered that it "wasn't the end of the world."
I was pleasantly surprised by how relevant this book was almost 40 years later. Of course, by now, after reading many Judy Blume books as an adult, I really shouldn't be. Ms. Blume will never cease to amaze me with how well she captures the thoughts and feelings of pre-teens. Karen's emotions and her actions, especially those pertaining to the hope that her parents would reconcile, were exactly what I imagine mine would have been like at her age. In addition, this novel definitely resonated with me because Karen's family seemed so real. I mean... I knew families like hers when I was growing up; and truth be told, I still know families like that now.
IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD is a relatively short read that is ideal for kids whose parents are considering divorce. I highly recommend IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD -- but it seems like I highly recommend everything I've read by Judy Blume!