By some terrible mistake, it seems that Barnes and Noble has stopped carrying 'Deenie' by Judy Blume. Luckily enough, it's still on their list of books that they can order, and I did so, waiting eagerly for it to come in so that I could devour it, and remember what about it was so special when I read it as a thirteen year old.
One of my students, Kady, has scoliosis, and wrote a long paper recalling her diagnosis, and the progression of the condition in concise detail. She listed the degrees that her spine had tilted without flinching, though it can take her ages to remember something that I have taught her. She talked about how scary it was, and how no one really understood what it was like. She's a very quiet girl, but she expressed herself in a loud, clear voice in this paper - one that I never heard her projecting in class.
Deenie flashed into my mind immediately, as a book that she should read. I have long subscribed to the belief that we read in order to know that we are not alone - to recognize the feelings that we feel in characters, or to find words for the things that we couldn't say. Being a girl in Kady's position seemed lonely and terrifying.
She is having a surgery early in July, in the hopes that it will help her. I don't know the details, or fully understand any of it, but I badly wanted to press this book upon her.
Perhaps there is a reason that Barnes and Noble no longer has it in stock - maybe Kady will find it outdated and irrelevant. But still, I felt as I gave her the book today, that I was connecting her to something important. I hope that she finds company in the words, and even if it doesn't make it less scary, at least it may make her a little less alone.