Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great

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First edition, US hardcover.

Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great is a young adult book written by Judy Blume and first published in 1972. It is the second book in the Fudge series. The story is told from the perspective of ten-year-old Shelia Tubman, first seen in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, who lives with her mother, father, and older sister Libby. Shelia is very insecure and terrified of many things, and she masks her fears by lying.

I first experienced this book in the fourth grade when my teacher read it to the class over the course of a couple weeks. I ended up missing one chapter because I was misbehaving and had to sit out in the hall. I never read the book again until my late 30s, and I was surprised at how much I still remembered.

Review

Good

  • I like how the book describes Shelia's lying, how it puts her in awkward situations, and, how she eventually becomes more confident.
  • Shelia, when she actually tries to accomplish something, like learning to swim, is able to do it, and her friends cheer her on.
  • The slam book was a nice addition which shows the difficulty of accepting harsh truths about yourself from your peers.

Bad

  • Shelia is annoying. She's mean to her friends, lies to everyone, and doesn't have very many redeemable traits.
  • A fair amount of the book doesn't really go anywhere. The Peter Pan play, for example, didn't really need to be in the book.
  • The book kind of just peters out without a meaningful ending.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

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