"It's Not the End of the World" by Judy Blume is a novel that strikes the closest to home for the author. She wrote the book before she went through a divorce with her own husband and was able to look at the situation through her children's eyes. The result was a book about the struggles of families dealing with divorce.
View of Marriage
The main character in the book, Karen, decides that she is never going to get married because the only thing married people do is fight. She gets this impression because this is how her parents always behave. To her, this is normal and what marriage is like. She doesn't want that for her own life. And then the big news comes: her father is leaving and her parents are getting a divorce.
Handling the News
Once Karen finds out that her parents are getting a divorce, she doesn't know what to do. Her sibilings each react to the news in their own way, with her younger sister falling apart and her older brother shutting himself off from the world. Karen herself cannot bear to talk about it with anyone, even her friends. She feels as though she is alone and that no one can understand how she is feeling.
Because Karen cannot accept that this is really happening to her family, she, like most children of divorced parents, thinks she can get her parents back together. She is convinced that this is all a mistake and that her parents can be happy together. She sees how much her mother struggles as she becomes a single parent who doesn't have a job. If only she could get her father to return, things would be better.
In addition to the upheaval at home, Karen is also dealing with issues at school. None of them are directly related to the divorce, but the emotional turmoil of the divorce is taking a toll on her school life. For instance, she thinks that her teacher doesn't like her. However, her teacher ends up being a valuable resource for her, helping her get through this difficult time.
It may be hard for Karen to speak to her friends about her parents because their parents aren't like hers. They all have parents who are happy together. However, while Karen is visiting her father, she meets a new friend. This friend has already been through her parents' divorce and knows how it all works. She is able to talk to Karen and help her deal with the divorce.
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