Literature: Blubber

Linda gets bullied at school and everyone, including the narrator, makes fun of her. Then the narrator gets bullied and suddenly, it’s not funny any more.

Blubber was first published by Judy Blume in 1974 and was banned from many school libraries and reading lists because of violence and language.

This book provides examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Linda tries to solve the problem by dialogue. It fails.
  • Adults Are Useless: The teachers scold the kids occasionally for their antics, but never make a move to stop it. Jill's mother comforts her when the class turns on her, but doesn't step in to actually help her.
  • Alpha Bitch: Wendy
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Kenny Brenner
  • Chinese Best Friend: Tracy Wu
  • Berserk Button: Never call Jill's best friend Tracy a racial slur. Ever.
  • The Bully: Wendy
  • Creepy Child: Wendy and her followers are a borderline example. They write lists of new ways to torment Linda, including forcibly undressing her on two separate occasions. Later, Wendy and her gang attack Jill at the bus stop and throw her books on the ground.
  • Double Standard: Touched on regarding overweight males versus overweight females. Jill notes that one of the boys gleefully tormenting Linda is extremely overweight. Even better, he's jumping rope to a mocking chant directed towards the title character. Special attention is called to his undulating rolls of fat in the narration.
  • Informed Deformity: Linda is apparently the fattest girl in the class, but on the cover art she doesn't look any heavier than the rest of the girls.
    • Lampshaded in the book. Jill admits that she doesn't know why they all go after Linda to torment, as Linda really isn't all that big.
  • Karma Houdini: Wendy, again.
  • Kids Are Cruel: And how.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Poor Linda…
  • Moral Guardians: The book was banned in a lot of places for its complete lack of sugarcoating, Karma Houdini ending, and the use of curse words by young kids. Another, darker reason is that some claim it to be fuel for future bullies.
  • Morality Pet: Tracy seems to be this for Jill, as she's the only one Jill has a consistent good relationship with.
  • School Bullying Is Harmless: HELL NO.
  • Shameful Strip: After trapping Linda in the girls' bathroom, Wendy orders Jill (dressed as a flenser for Halloween) to "strip the Blubber" and not stop until she has to run down the hall "in her blubbery birthday suit." It never gets that far, but the girls do reveal Linda's undershirt and flowery underpants before letting her off with a lesser humiliation.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Jill does eventually call Wendy on her bullshit, even if in the end it amounts to little.
  • Token Good Classmate: Rochelle, who is quiet and stays out of the class' bullying behavior.
  • Villain Protagonist: Jill