Child & Adolescent Development: Overview

Review of "Then Again, Maybe I Won't"

By Judy Blume
Yearling Books, 1971
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jul 5th 2002
Then Again, Maybe I Won't

Then Again, Maybe I Won’t was published in 1971, but since it deals with issues that many boys still face today.  13-year-old Tony Miglione lived in Jersey City, but when his father become rich, the family moved to wealthy Rosemont on Long Island.  Tony has the same feelings as most other boys – he likes watching the 16-year-old girl next door get undressed, he wonders if he will ever have a wet dream, and he has trouble communicating with his parents – but it’s the change in the family’s circumstances that are particularly interesting.  We see that Tony loses his friends when he leaves his old neighborhood, and he finds that his new neighbors are snobbish, taking a nasty attitude towards their maid and even towards his own parents.  Joel, their son, who is the same age as Tony, likes making prank telephone calls and steals from local stores, although he has plenty of money. 

            All these changes in Tony’s life cause him great anxiety, but his main symptom is terrible stomach pain.  Eventually it becomes so bad that he ends up in hospital.  He sees a psychiatrist and talks about his life, and through this, he starts to be able to talk about his feelings with his family.  Eventually he comes to feel more in control of his feelings and he becomes more confident. 

            The story narrated by Judy Bloom is engrossing and should still have appeal to young people.  Of course, it tells of a world without computer games and mobile phones, but this is not really a problem.  The moral of the story is mainly that becoming rich does not necessarily make life easier, and it also puts psychotherapy in a good light.  The unabridged audiobook is narrated well by Justin Long. 

 

© 2002 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help foster communication between philosophers, mental health professionals, and the general public.

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