We all remember – even if vaguely- what it felt like to be thirteen. Other than the fact that “our whole body is growing in unique ways” (as my elementary science teacher would say), some of us are just developing our sense of morality, while others, who have already matured in their views of right and wrong, are taking a more in depth look at what growing up truly means.
In Judy Blume’s short novel, Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Tony Migilone’s family has just moved from the close-knitted and rural Jersey City to the upper-class neighborhood of Rosemont. Yet, Tony doesn’t fully agree with the Rosemont move and has a hard time deciphering what is the best way to deal with the pesky problems that just keep popping up in his newly-found life. For instance, everybody in his family (except his Grandma) have morphed into unrecognizable beings and are oblivious to the transformation. Then there’s the matter of “Angel Face” Joel, who has a nasty habit of shoplifting and seems to have no intention of quitting any time soon. And on top of that, there’s Joel’s sixteen year old sister, Lisa, whose bedroom is facing Tony’s and always happens to get undressed with her blinds up every night. As if learning how to handle the changes with his body isn’t difficult enough.
I’d actually come across this book when I visited a trade bookstore and scoured the shelves for something different and adventurous and I found exactly that. Despite the age of this novel, I believe that through this book Judy Blume takes readers on a familiar journey down memory lane that has them laughing at some of the ways in which Tony attempts to handle the situations he finds himself in, and empathizing with his family when it’s time to remember Tony’s brother, Vinnie. Kudos to Blume for creating a heartwarming novel that even older readers can enjoy.