It’s Not the End of the World

The story

Karen has decided she’ll never get married. Just look at her parents. All they do is fight. And now Karen’s dad has moved out of the house and they’re talking about divorce. But despite their fighting, Karen is sure they can work it out if they really try. Can Karen hold the family together — or is that really the best solution?

Judy says

When I wrote It’s Not the End of the World in the early seventies I lived in suburban New Jersey with my husband and two children, who were both in elementary school. I could see their concern and fear each time a family in our neighborhood divorced. What do you say to your friends when you find out their parents are splitting up? If it could happen to them, could it happen to us?

At the time, my own marriage was in trouble but I wasn’t ready or able to admit it to myself, let alone anyone else. In the hope that it would get better I dedicated this book to my husband. But a few years later, we, too, divorced. It was hard on all of us, more painful than I could have imagined, but somehow we muddled through and it wasn’t the end of any of our worlds, though on some days it might have felt like it.

Divorce laws have changed since I wrote this book. You don’t have to go to Nevada or anyplace else to be divorced these days. Most states have no fault divorce laws. And unlike Karen’s mother in this book, many women have jobs outside the home, regardless of whether or not they’re married or have children. Not that new laws or having two working parents makes divorce easy. It still hurts. It still causes the same fears and feelings Karen experiences in this story.


From Karen’s diary.


John was my husband and I could make monkey faces like Karen’s best friend.

“A brisk, first-person narrative … Believably delineates the bewilderment and anxiety affecting children of about-to-be-divorced parents. Honest, but not depressing … explores with precision and sympathy the distinctive personality of a twelve-year-old.”

-Horn Book Magazine