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I grew up reading Judy Blume. I learned about periods from ‘Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret?’ I learned about sex from ‘Forever.’ I also learned that you should never call your penis Ralph from that book. A valuable lesson I have tried to abide by for all these years.


I also learned never to swallow a turtle from Superfudge.

All in all, a well rounded education I think you will agree.

I must, somewhere along the line, have read Iggie’s House. I just don’t remember it at all. Now I am searching out Blume’s books for my twelve year old, who is graduating from Jacqueline Wilson, and I came across Iggie’s House, so I decided to read it myself.

It is quite a powerful book.

It tells the story of Winnie, a girl whose best friend Iggie has just moved away. Winnie and Iggie lived on the same street, and Winnie is desperate to see who moves into Iggie’s house, and whether she will be able to make friends with them.

A black family move into the house from Detroit, where there have just been a series of race riots. Some of the white residents of Winnie’s street are not at all tolerant, and one lady in particular, tries to oust the family from the house  through all sorts of dreadful tactics.

Winnie is outraged at the behaviour of her neighbours and her parents failure to condemn it. She tries to make up for the faults of her neighbours by befriending the children with mixed results.

The novel works so well because Blume captures Winnie’s bewilderment at the actions of people she loves and trusts and their failure to see things as clearly and simply as she does. It is pretty heartbreaking and doubly so because Winnie also meets hostility and suspicion from the family she is trying to befriend as well, and her well-meaning actions are often seen as slights on their part.

The action of the book takes place over one week, and the ending is fairly open. You are left in the hope that all parties learn something from what has happened to them.

A strong book, which I thought would be outdated in today’s world. Sadly I don’t think it is so much.

I recommend it for boys and girls aged 8-12.