The Humiliations of Pipi McGee by Beth Vrabel

This is a powerful story of an 8th-grade girl, Pipi going through a lot of stuff at school and at home.


She’s holding onto many embarrassments from her past school years and is having a hard time letting go, to the point of being in a negative mindset toward the classmates who have been laughing at her, treating her like she is a virus, and being mean to her (in her eyes at least) since kindergarten, even feeling anger and jealousy toward the ones who haven’t really done that much to her, like Sarah who seems genuinely nice.

Pipi sees Sarah as a bad guy when the book starts because she is best friends and cousins with her main bully Kara. Pipi has to open her eyes and realize that there is more to people than what she sees. She is so focused on all the mishaps that happened to her over the years that she never realized everyone around her are having them as well.

She is so caught up in her humiliations that she thinks she needs to save younger children from having any. She has to realize when she tries to help the younger kids, she is taking away who these kids are and Pipi needs to learn who she herself really is!

There is a full range of emotion being expressed in this book and I enjoyed it fully. I love how funny it can be, but it can be just as sad as it can be hilarious. Annie, who is Pipi's niece, is the funniest 4-year old I've ever read about. This is a fast paced book. It has such heart and a scene or two made me tear up.

This book has every diverse group you could think of (small exaggeration, maybe?) and it works. It doesn’t feel too forced. I’m glad we’re starting to get more diverse children books.

I want to point out that Pipi's school has a strict dress code and it might be a sore spot for some people who are going through or did go through it. It's a very sexist mindset that our schools have. It’s the whole “she was wearing *that* so she was asking for it.” The girls have so many rules, but the boys rules are “must be clean and neat.” It is even quoted in the book that the girls are a distraction to the boys.

There is also some homophobia in this book, so be aware of that going in if that is a topic that would hit close to home.

The book is real. It’s raw. The ending packs a punch. It really tugged at my heartstrings. It’s not just a children book. It is and should be important for all ages.

I really loved this book.