Normally I'm not a fan of books that switch narrators. I'd rather focus on one person and be in their head the entire time. However, Danticat does anNormally I'm not a fan of books that switch narrators. I'd rather focus on one person and be in their head the entire time. However, Danticat does an excellent job of using each narrator as a lens with which to view the character at the center of the book--the dew breaker himself. Danticat's writing is clear and efficient without mincing words, and the book is carefully balanced with characters who give differing perspectives on what it is to fear and forgive. ...more
**spoiler alert** Apparently, not reading this book as an adolescent girl is equivalent to not being an adolescent girl. I've had it on my book shelf**spoiler alert** Apparently, not reading this book as an adolescent girl is equivalent to not being an adolescent girl. I've had it on my book shelf since I was ten, and decided to read it now, as a twenty-year-old woman, because I had a couple of hours to kill.
Maybe because I'm twenty now and don't remember, or maybe because so many years have passed since Judy Blume was writing about Margaret's sixth grade problems, but I didn't find a lot to connect me to Margaret as a character. I don't remember ever worrying about when my boobs would grow, or when I would start my period. And I certainly don't remember wishing it would start any sooner. So, to me, this book is just a quaint look at what girls used to be like.
The other part of the book, however--Margaret's search for God and struggle to determine her own religion--struck closer to home. As a kid, my parents, like Margaret's, never went to church, and I had two sets of grandparents trying to force me to become a part of their own respective religions. Margaret takes it a little more seriously than I did as a child, but that's to be expected when it's a main part of the plot. While the period/boobs plot line was quaint to me, the religion thread was somewhat touching.
My problem is with the way the book goes unresolved. Sure, it's 150 pages and written for ten and eleven year old girls in the early 1970s, but there is no resolution whatsoever for me. Margaret, of course, grows up. She gets her period and she moves on to seventh grade, but since the religion plot and the struggle between her two sets of grandparents for her religious upbringing was such a big deal to me (and, seemingly, to Margaret) a lot of it goes unfinished. Margaret says she'll raise her own children religious from the get go, but that she only feels God herself when she is praying to him alone. To me, it's a very mixed ending, and not in a good, humanly confusing way. If Margaret feels at peace outside of religion, why would she ever want to raise her children as part of one and start the same battle her parents had to fight all over again? It's a little ridiculous.
The other thing is, the whole book long Margaret's had this thing for a neighborhood boy. Of course, he's older than her and not interested in her, and she does talk to him at the end and he ignores her, but I'd like to see her reflection on that instead of just what actually happens and then no more. I'd like to see Margaret grow and change a little after all of these events.
My main critique is that I'd like Margaret to begin to change, mentally and emotionally, into a young woman instead of changing only physically.
Otherwise, for a short little book for ten year olds, it's surprisingly good. Judy Blume's writing is always so clear and concise, and her plots are so beautifully uncomplicated that it's hard not to love her books, simple as they may be. ...more
I was really into this book for the first half, and then extremely uninterested and thrown off by the weirdness in the second half. I thought it was aI was really into this book for the first half, and then extremely uninterested and thrown off by the weirdness in the second half. I thought it was an interesting gimmick, but had SO much trouble connecting....more