by Judy Blume

Paperback, 1986



Local notes

PB Blu




Yearling (1986), Edition: Reprint, 160 pages


Jill goes along with the rest of the fifth-grade class in tormenting a classmate and then finds out what it's like when she, too, becomes a target.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

160 p.; 5.34 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member AnnaMarieOkie
This is the story of a young girl named Jill. Jill and her classmates begin bullying an overweight girl within the classroom named Linda. They give her the nickname Blubber. The narration is done by Jill so you see everything through her eyes. The story reaches it's climax when the class turns on
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Jill for sticking up for Linda. Jill then sees what it is like to be on the other side of the "fence."

I think the book opened my eyes to bullying more. The kids were so very cruel. The teacher is unaware of it all. It is heartbreaking.

This would be a good book on bullying. I am just fearful kids may take some of the ideas and use them on classmates. It would take much discernment to decide about this book being useful or not. It would be a good book for future teachers to read.
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LibraryThing member theWallflower
I'm unsure what to think about this book. This and "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret" are the two titles everyone associates with Blume. I didn't know what it was about going in. YA titles often have bizarre names mostly to intrigue the reader, like "How to Eat Fried Worms" and "My Teacher is
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an Alien". Not this one.

Going in blind, I was allowed to judge the characters with impartiality. The main character, Jill, starts as whiny and spoiled, and doesn't get any better when she starts targeting the title character (a fat girl).

The bullying is instigated by ringleader Wendy, and the things she and Jill (and others) do to "Blubber" are absolutely atrocious, like trapping her in the bathroom and attempting to strip her. The story culminates in a mock trial of "Blubber" that becomes too unfair not to protest. For her insolence, Jill becomes the bullied. The story ends with friendships manipulated and changed, as often happens in elementary school.

When I realized the story was about bullying, and that the bully is the protagonist, I wasn't sure how to react. I had automatic lack of sympathy for her, which I can't believe Blume didn't expect. Then I started thinking, is this a cautionary tale? A walk in the other person's shoes? No, because the reader doesn't understand why Jill started bullying, or anyone in fact, and there's no consequences from it. Is it like "The Great Gatsby" where you're not supposed to sympathize with the characters but observe the decline and fall?

And I can't help reading this book without applying what we now know about bullying and girls. I'm not saying the book is out of date. Far from it, it's actually close to home. But you've also got more knowledge on the subject like Queen Bees and Wannabes, cyberbullying, school shootings, bullycide, causes of bullying, interventions, scapegoating, and so on.

Jill's bully persona doesn't match her non-school persona (she collects stamps, for God's sake). The bully's perspective didn't feel plausible (a book that did do it well was the sequel to "My Teacher is an Alien"). And in the book, it never goes beyond the circle of girls. The events feel disconnected, like "a bunch of stuff that happens".

I guess my two biggest complaints are that, except for Jill, we never get out of the bully cliche (even though Blume says she wrote this based on what was going on her daughter's class at the time -- maybe this is the kind of stuff that actually happens to girls and not boys). It's more about the instances of bullying. They're not well-developed, complex, or have backstory. The worst people on Earth are the most fascinating. The other complaint is that no one seems to learn anything by the end, except that "war changes things". Maybe that's the lesson we're supposed to learn?
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LibraryThing member francophoney
One of the most realistic accounts of elementary school bullying ever written. By choosing to tell the story from the viewpoint of neither the lead bully nor the victim, Judy Blume allows the incidents to be told in a much more raw manner without allowing for as much emotional interference. Jill's
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participation in senseless acts of torment against the common victim of the class enables children to question their own behavior when being integrated in a group which may or may not share their values.

The story does not follow a traditional structure in that it does not truly build toward a proper climax, but this also means that it is easy to follow, particularly for slower readers. Certain elements show that the book was written more than a few years ago (the mother smoking in her children's presence or the parents winding down in the evening with a Bloody Mary, for example), but the message, and the reflection it can lead to, is priceless.
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LibraryThing member Cecilturtle
More relevant today than ever before; the struggle of an overweight girl and the kids that tease her
LibraryThing member AngelaPrice
Blubber by Judy Blume
Blubber is a Contemporary Realistic Fiction book told from the viewpoint of fifth grader Jill Brenner. When LInda, a fellow student who is slightly overweight, reads her report on whales, the class leader, Wendy, decides to start calling her “Blubber.” Jill and most of her
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fellow students join in on the tormenting, which gets crueler as the weeks pass. Jill, who is happy not to be the object of Wendy’s wrath, learns a lesson when the tables are turned, and she becomes the object of the class’s teasing.

Rereading this book after many years was like taking a walk down memory lane. I remembered reading it for the first time when I was in the fifth grade and recalled situations from my childhood when I either witnessed or was the target of bullies. Reading the book from an adult’s perspective made me question why the kids seemed to be left alone during times that would seem prime for trouble-making (for example, during lunch in the classroom). I was also surprised that there were a couple of curse words in the book because I didn’t remember those from my first reading.

I would use this book in the classroom as a resource for students who are targets of bullies. The book illustrates a good way for the bullied to regain some control in their lives. This would also be a useful book to read aloud to the class. I could then ask open-ended situational questions that students could relate back to the book instead of feeling the need to point out individuals in the class. Discussion topics could cover subjects such as bullying, friendship, family, and how to communicate students’ problems to parents and teachers.
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LibraryThing member jordyny7
This book is mainly about a girl name who is in 5th grade and she has three friends two of those friends makefun of a lot of people and Jill and the third friend Tracy just stay in the backround of it all. Jill has a little brother named Kenny who goes to a different school
LibraryThing member punkypower
I love Blume. Somehow, I never read this one. I saw it on a banned books list, and got my curiosity piqued. I thought it was a great read, realistic and heart-wrenching; however, like always, I don't get the banning.

Leslie is the scapegoat of fifth grade. Is it her weight, or is it because she
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takes everything the kids dish out. Can anyone think for themselves or is it better to become just another brick in the wall?
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LibraryThing member messelti
In Blubber, Jill avoids the wrath of the class “leader” by joining her in the torment of another girl, but soon enough she finds the tables turned and learns to stick up for herself. Judy Blume’s somewhat disquieting depiction of childhood cruelty is not uncalled-for, as anyone who remembers
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grade school can attest. Blume’s characters are richly detailed-even as an adult reader, I remember the Wendys, the Jills and the Lindas from my elementary school years. Her mastery of a youthful and petulant voice and themes of (self)acceptance and peer pressure make this an easy story for readers to relate to, and the placement of Jill outside of complete righteousness forces to reader to consider their own perspective on these situations. Blubber is highly recommended for any intermediate fiction collection, in school or public libraries.
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LibraryThing member smrenfroe
This book is all about trying to fit in and finding out that doing whatever it takes to accomplish that is not always the best thing in the world to do. In Blubber, Brenner sides with the popular kids against the unpopular and it comes back to bite her in the butt. As it turns out all the kids get
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what they deserve in the end.
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LibraryThing member lisa211
The story is surrounds the experiences of being a bully and being bullied by them. The main character is Jill, who is in the group of girls who bullies this girl, Linda who they dubbed as "Blubber" because of her essay about whales. It grew from just an inside joke to the rest of their peers,
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making Linda's life a living hell.

I spent reading this book emotionally. I actually feel like wringing some of the characters' necks! This would be one of the good books out there to introduce to the kids the problem of bullying and how to handle them in such a young age. Nevertheless the ending is kind of disturbing to be since there doesn't seem to be a justification to the story itself. The adults too doesn't seem to be much involved in trying to work out the bullying problem, which is kind of a shame. Nevertheless it's a good read.
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LibraryThing member hnebeker
Although this book is quite sad and difficult to read, I have to defend it especially because I know it has been criticized for having "curse words" . However, the saddest part of all is the reality that this story depicts. Blume should be hailed for her willingness to dive into the ugly side of
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elementary school and the world where children are meaner than we adults can imagine. We don't think of children's Literature as being art in the same way that we look at a novel or a painting but the truth is, it IS art. This book is the perfect example of successful art because it communicates with the reader, whether that reader is an eight-year-old bully or a nine-year-old girl who is heavier than she wants to be and gets teased for it. This book should be in all libraries and should most definitely be read by as many teachers as students as possible. The hope is that one of the worst bullies will see themselves or that a child who gets harassed everyday will see that they are not alone. Like I said, a very sad book but SO well written and good for Judy Blume for writing about the uncomfortable topic of bullying.
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LibraryThing member Necampos
I loved this book! As we get older, we become blind to what really happens in children's lives. Children sometimes do not have a filter for what they say, or take into considersation other's feelings. Judy Blume depicts what really goes on in the lives of elementary students. Although disturbing to
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read what children might say to one another, it happens every day! Jill Brennen tells the story of a girl slightly overweight, named Linda, and how she was picked on by another girl named Wendy. The classmates allowed this class bully to do so, without taking action themselves. The turn in the story is when Jill becomes a victim herself.
I really enjoyed this book and i know children would be able to relate to this, especially the upper elementary grades. Reguardless if the child is a bully, the one being bullied, or just a watcher of the action, they can all relate!
I love Judy Blume and i love her ability to get down to children's levels and portray their lives in ways that will positively influence them.
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LibraryThing member mdkladke
Judy Blume is one of my favorite authors. This book is perfect for kids to read and know that it's not okay to make fun of someone. All people are different shapes, sizes, and colors. Blume fits a lesson perfectly in this book, when you make fun of someone else the tables are going to turn on you.
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Jill makes fun of Linda and then the pages are turned on her. This book was kind of sad to read but it depicts life perfectly for teenagers and even elementary students.
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LibraryThing member mysteriesrme
Let me say that Judy Blume is an excellent author and I love her books. But I was really disturbed by Blubber. I really wanted to like the main character but I found her unsympathetic. When she asks her mother why the Blubber character doesn't stand up for herself, I thought how about Jill not
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picking on Linda! I guess I wanted the Blubber character to stand up to all the bullying and be autonomousl.
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LibraryThing member fvalle89
banned book for language and the topic of bullying, Could be used as a discussion book in a class where bullying is occurring, or even in general for addressing bullying.
LibraryThing member Marylee1973
A great book to introduce the cruelties of our youth. The perspectives given are exceptional and the tribulations of the pre-teen years are spot on.
LibraryThing member haleyg
Blubber is a good name for her, the note from Caroline said about Linda. Jill crumpled it up and left it on the corner of her school desk. She didn't want to think about Linda or her dumb report on the whale just then. Jill wanted to think about Halloween. But Robby grabbed the note and before
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Linda stopped talking it had gone halfway around the room. That's where it all started...there was something about Linda that made a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they could go...but nobody, Jill least of all, expected the fun to end where it did.
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LibraryThing member jebass
See "Blubber" by Judy Blume
LibraryThing member bplma
In a fifth grade class that could be anywhere in the western world, Wendy, the class alpha-female, uses her power to make life miserable for Linda---aka Blubber. All the girls allow it and encourage her, either actively or passively. Jill learns the hard way that wrong is wrong-- it doesn't matter
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who the players are, and before she knows it, the shoe is on the other foot.
Judy Blume is amazing-- everyone knows that. Written in the voice of Jill, it is hard to believe a 10 year old did not write this herself--the language and characters and the situations are so authentic. Blume never preaches, but lets Jill tell a story as it occurs-- as the days pass we see her grow and start to question what is happening-- she moves from discounting the victim to feeling compassion for her and begins to challenge the Alpha's hold on their 5th grade world, only to find herself-- as so many other girls have-- the new victim. It happens so easily. This kind of first person growth is always a style i enjoy. It reminded me of the LOUD SILENCE OF FRANCIE GREEN by Karen Cushman-- which i also recommend,.
Loved it, loved it, loved it. Highley recommend.
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LibraryThing member andestac
I really enjoyed reading this book because I feel that Judy Blume did a great job of creating a fun story that also incorporated an important topic among young children, bullying. The story is about a young girl named Jill whose friends decide to start calling a girl in their class, "Blubber." At
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first the nickname seemed harmless. When the teasing continues, it does become a big deal. When Jill decides to stand up for the girl being bullied, her friend Wendy redirects her attention to bullying Jill. Jill learns that Wendy wasn’t a good friend and learns how wrong it was to tease and call someone Blubber. I would use this book as a mentor text for narrative writing. This could be a good way to start a writing prompt about a time when you felt bullied or saw bullying. I also think this is a great mentor text when talking about writing a theme into your pieces. Often times, the author is trying to teach us something in their writing. We would talk about how to write things with an inteded lesson you want the reader to learn.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
This is a book about a girl who follows other girls in teasing a classmate, Linda "Blubber." The girl (Jill) is then turned on when she decides to defend Linda by the classmates who led the teasing. Things get swapped around when Jill becomes the target of the teasing. Although the whole dynamic of
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the girls in the class ends up changing, I really didn't feel like every problem was solved/ question was answered.
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LibraryThing member PrincezzRyn
This story stars a very unpopular and much-hated girl, nicknamed Blubber. Jill is a girl that isn't popular, and isn't unpopular. Trying to fit in and gain the much-wanted friendship of the Popular Girls, Jill is horrible towards Blubber. It isn't as it seems, though... How did Jill suddenly be
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hated as well?!
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LibraryThing member foggidawn
When the mean girl in Jill’s class targets another girl, nicknaming her “Blubber” and playing all kinds of mean pranks, Jill goes along with it, but what will happen when things go too far?

Man, children can be little monsters. Blume captures that in this book; she doesn’t pull any punches
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(and neither do some of the characters). Protagonist Jill isn’t particularly likable, but she’s a great study of how one can be drawn into bullying behavior even without specific negative intentions. I noted with interest all of the changes in the sorts of freedoms kids had at the time the book was written as compared to now. I’m not sure what modern-day kids would make of this story. I thought I had read it long ago, but maybe I missed this one? I don’t know if I’d recommend it to kids for pleasure reading, but I can see it being useful in an anti-bullying discussion, maybe paired with a more recent text.
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This book was written in 1974, I was 13 then, but I have no recollection of having read it or not, like her other books.

I would have given it 5 stars like the rest of her books, but the ending was not satisfying to me at all. I need much more of a Roald Dahl ending for that brat Wendy, instead she
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did so much damage, and comes out smelling like a rose and just playing musical chairs as to who is going to be her friend/lackey this week.

Had Roald Dahl had a chance with her, the book would have ended much differently. Being a justice loving person I didn't want to see her cause so much damage and then bear no consequences.
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LibraryThing member CatherineHsu
A short, quick read about bullying in middle grades. Depicts both sides and for me it was a really quick read! Honestly it didn't grip me, but I did enjoy it.

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½ (622 ratings; 3.6)
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