Scoliosis-Book Review – ‘Deenie’, by Judy Blume

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Recommended reading for adolescents with Scoliosis

Juliette Woodruff

I have had a few young clients recommend a book titled ‘Deenie’, by Judy Blume, as being helpful in coping with their scoliosis. Deenie is a thirteen year old girl in high school, experiencing the physical and emotional changes of adolescence, while finding out she has scoliosis – a condition that causes the spine to curve abnormally as she grows. She feels frustrated that her clothes never fit her properly, insecure about people knowing she has scoliosis, or people seeing her brace. She worries constantly about what her cheerleading team will think of the brace, and will they think she is a freak or will they be supportive. 

Young adolescent girls experience a lot of different emotions and physical changes as they go through puberty. Many of us probably remember times growing up when we felt insecure about our physical features, not having the body shape we wanted, or not liking our skin complexion. Aside from the physical changes we underwent as young adults, there was the emotional side. Remember when you felt shy around a particular boy, or wanting to wear fashionable clothes and look good, and be accepted by your peers. These are some of the things a thirteen year old thinks about in high school and these feelings are magnified in young women trying to cope with development that is abnormally affected by scoliosis. I recommend this book to any young adolescent girl who has been recently diagnosed with scoliosis.

“When Deenie sees the brace for the first time, she wants to scream, forget it…I’m never going to wear that thing. Everyone will know. Everyone!”
— Deenie by Judy Blume, Delacorte Press

Here is a beautiful poem called Stepping Stones Of The Spirit by Patricia Bever. It is a book about a woman’s life, her challenges and triumphs, growing up with scoliosis, and the journey from adolescence to adulthood.

The cicada in the dark earth swept and grew,
Unknown to herself – no wing, no ray, no voice;
Until her seventeenth summer, blindly stirring
She crept and clung, moved by unquenched life within her.
She grew and changed in the deepest of her being,
She grew and burst and rent open her archaic shape,
Through the slow soreness, stepped out of herself, and flew
To fill the bright air with a resonant song.

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