This last week I've been knocked out with a cold - the kind a lot of people would call the 'flu, but is just really a bad, bad cold. The type where you either sleep or just lie there staring listlessly into space because watching tv or listening to audio hurts your ears, and your eyes don't want to focus on anything, and never mind your brain; your brain is too focused on trying to figure out why it feels like you've just swallowed razor blades, and trying not think about anything else at all.
So when I finally started feeling vaguely human yesterday I needed comfort and ease, and a reason to laugh. I needed Judy Blume and Berkeley Breathed. All of these I've read before, but all of them survived the reunion.
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great - Judy Blume: Well, ok, I hadn't read this one since I was a kid and remembered it as less than a favorite. I remembered correctly as it's the Blume book I like the least (relatively speaking, b/c everything she wrote for kids is brilliant). Sheila had a problem with honesty and even as a kid I did not care for the way she fabricated lies to prop up her ego. Blume tries to show the reader Sheila does this out of fear, but it never really engaged my sympathy, although Blume might have been writing about me in the scene involving the swimming test. Still, 3 stars.
Freckle Juice - Judy Blume: I've always thought this book was great. Definitely written for the younger kids; the gross factor is high and the storyline simple and straight forward, though I particularly enjoy the tiny twist at the end more so as an adult.
Deenie - Judy Blume The Blume book I found Most Confronting as a teen, and still found painful to read. Scoliosis terrified me growing up and this book did not help matters. My later diagnosis sent me into paroxysms of hysteria, even though mine is so mild it wasn't worth treating. Decades later, this book is still hard to read, but what stands out the most is this is one of the rare Judy Blume books that feature active parental interference. In a note at the end of this edition, Blume acknowledges this, saying she wrote Deenie as a way to explore how parental expectations can shape and pigeonhole children.
Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope - Berkeley Breathed and Bloom County: Best Read On The Throne - Berkeley Breathed: Bloom County is one of those things that you either get or you don't. It shaped my teen aged years in ways I cannot adequately explain and Breathed's comeback in 2015 felt like a cherished part of my life had been returned to me; to stick with comic strip metaphors, it's like Linus getting his blanket back. And the blanket has a hilarious sense of humor.