Monday, April 23, 2012

Blume Books Iggie's House

Thoughts on one of the Blume Books Iggie's House

Iggie's House by Judy Blume
Children's Books ; (128 pgs)
Random House Children's Books

Winnie pops her gum and her mother dreads it.  But that's just one of Winnie's quirks, she likes to pop her gum.  Who doesn't?  For Winning there's something more relevant than picking at the popping of a gum.  Her best friends has left her town and she feels there's nothing she can do about it.  "This was, without a doubt, the lonelinest, saddest, most horrible week of her whole life."

Winnie has lived in the same place since she was born.  She wishes she could go somewhere or do something exciting.  One of the ways to do that is to explore what the new neighbors are all about.  The fact that the new neighbors, who by the way have moved into her best friend's house, are in fact colored, does add to the novelty of adventure.  She's extremely eager to meet them even though she doesn't quite understand the historical racial implications of the time.  She enthusiasm about rising to the occasion to introduce herself to them.

Mrs Landon, the famous phony neighbor, with the phony smile the way Winnie describes her, has a tendency to be quite nosey and involve herself in mobilizing the whole neighborhood into driving the new neighbors out of the community.  She builds a petition to show that they aren't welcome.  Winnie is angry and feels her parents should do something about it.  Instead her parents tell her she's consuming her energy and time to this cause without thinking things through.  Her mother says to Winnie, "You're always jumping into new situations with both feet, before you know what you're jumping into!"  Yet, Winnie holds on to her belief that she must do something, and creates her own questionnaire.

Winnie is this fierce child I was consistently rooting for from beginning to end.  She even made me laugh.  Mrs Landon comes to the door asking if her parents are home.  Knowingly that her parents are in fact at home, she yells as loud as she can, without turning away from Mrs Landon, 'MOM! DAD!...ANYBODY HOME?"  Isn't that hilarious?

Judy Blume Talks about writing Iggie's House:  This is a section from the book that I thought I would pull out and share with everyone.  It's worth reading.

The late 1960s was a turbulent time in America.  Racial tensions were high, especially after the assassination in 1968 of Martin Luther King, Jr.  The ongoing fight for racial equality affected all of us one way or another.  At the time, I was almost as naive as Winnie is in this book, wanting to make the world a better place but not knowing how.

When Winnie refers tot he race riots in Detroit and asks the Garber kids if their father was involved, the Garbers are offended, and who can blame them?  I had neighbors in the New Jersey suburb where I lived at the time who talked about arming themselves in case the race riots in Newark spilled over to our street, which was as white as Grove Street, where Winnie lives.  That kind of thinking makes it hard for kids to become friends.

This book takes place during one week of summer.  I'd like to believe that when summer ends, Winnie and the Garbers will get to know each other and become real friends.

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