Flashback Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, in which you share a book that is special to you, which was published at least 5 years ago.
I love this meme, and I think I might participate in it each week from now on because there are so many books that I love which I read so long ago and that I would love to share.
The book I'm featuring today is called Deenie, written by Judy Blume.
'I hate it when my mother brags about me and my sister. "Deenie's the beauty and Helen's the brain."' Mrs Fenner has very fixed ambitions for her daughters. Deenie is thirteen years old and gorgeous. Her mother wants her to be a model – but Deenie's not so sure. So when she's diagnosed with scoliosis – curvature of the spine – Deenie's almost relieved. No more traipsing round modelling agencies, no more living up to her mother's expectations. But she has to wear an ugly, uncomfortable back brace for the next four years. And she's convinced that it will put an end to normal teenage life – including her blossoming relationship with Buddy Brader . . . '
I think I read this for the first time when I was about 11 or 12, and have read it at least 47million times since. My copy is so worn and well loved. This was first published in 1983, and recommended to me by my Auntie.
Deenie is a character who is so lovely and just as you would expect a teenage girl to be. Obviously, she has a lot to deal with after finding out that she has scoliosis, and this is dealt with really brilliantly in the book. The relationships with her family members are interesting and described in a way which is so believable of the typical family. I can't even explain enough how good this book is in terms of being a YA Contemporary novel. It deals with a lot of issues that all teenagers go through and the way it's written, it's as if a teenage girl wrote it, not an adult. Judy Blume is an amazing author who manages to create characters so believable and relevant that it's hard to believe that Deenie isn't a true story.
Also, the topic of scoliosis isn't one that I have read anywhere else. Before reading Deenie, I hadn't even heard of scoliosis, so this means that the story is both original but also eye-opening to the fact that scoliosis is more common than I would have ever known. I like the way that Deenie copes with having the curvature of the spine, and how the story doesn't just focus on that as if that would be the only interesting thing about the main character. She has a lot of other things going on in her life, and loads of worries- a lot of these to do with Buddy Brader. This relationship is blossoming throughout the story and what I like best about it is that its believable. He doesn't just one day turn around and say 'Hey Deenie, you're beautiful, let's get married one day'. It's much more realistic. They are both teenagers, both unsure and that is what it's really like. I think that's what I like best about Judy Blume: her stories are very true to life.
I think this book would be enjoyed by anyone from about 12 years old and who love contemporary novels. You can buy it here (and I recommend that you do!) Also, let me know if you've read this book because I don't know how well known it is :)