Saturday, September 6, 2008

Blumesday


I grew up reading Judy Blume's books, especially those written with girls in mind. I started with Are You There God? Its Me, Margaret, and I worked my way through them up to Forever . . ., which was titillating and much talked about, mostly because the teenage protagonist had sex. I didn't read her novels for adults, and I didn't read the Fudge books until I had kids of my own to read them to. But now I love Fudge, too.

But Judy Blume had a profound effect on me as a tween girl, because her books talked frankly about all the things we girls thought about, but were sometimes too embarrassed or afraid to talk about openly. Of course, this is probably why her books were sometimes banned--how crazy is that?

When I was in the fifth grade, my soon-to-be sixth grade teacher (an amazing teacher, I still remember how great sixth grade was) handed me a copy of a book by Judy Blume called Deenie. It was about a girl with scoliosis who has to wear a brace on her back. I, too, had scoliosis and had just gotten my back brace, so it was amazing for me to receive a book written about my very situation--especially since I knew exactly zero people who wore back braces at that point, and had no idea what I was in for.

So when I opened my email the other day, I was excited to see this flyer telling me that Jill Soloway, a hilarious writer and comedienne, is participating in this tribute to Judy Blume (full disclosure--I know Jill and she's fabulous). Looks like it's a night of "readings, performances and reflections" about Judy Blume's books. What a great idea, wish I'd thought of it myself. Anyone in the L.A. area--should be a great event.

Judy Blume has a great website, by the way. It has resources for kids who are doing reports, her thoughts about censorship, her advice about writing, and a blog. Definitely worth visiting!

13 comments:

litlove said...

I remember reading a Judy Blume book from the library and it being one of the very few books I got there (the selection was rubbish) that I really enjoyed. She was writing YA stuff when the whole concept still didn't really exist in the UK. I was delighted to find her at a time when there was very little that was suitable for my reading desires!

Gentle Reader said...

Litlove--it might be overstating it a little to say that Blume helped me make it through early adolescence, but I will say she made an impact on me and most of my friends during that difficult time! I think she is well worth celebrating! I think she might be considered one of the founding mothers of YA lit, here as well :)

Jeane said...

I read quite a few Judy Blume books, but by no means all of them. Didn't read the Fudge ones until I was older, either. They're pretty cute.

Iliana said...

Oh man, those lucky people who get to go to Blumesday!

I was a big fan of Judy Blume and think I must have read all of her YA books. I wish I still had my tattered copy of Are You There God?...

Tara said...

I was also a Judy-aholic growing up. I read her books over and over. My husband recently downloaded a podcast for me on itunes of her being interviewed and it was fantastic.

Gentle Reader said...

jeane--I think Fudge is pretty cute, too!

iliana--I'm hoping to be able to go, and if so, I'll let you know how Blumesday goes. I wish I still had my old copy of Are You There God? too :)

tara--now I'm going to go search her out on iTunes!

Robin said...

I love Judy Blume! What a nice story about your 6th grade teacher and the power of books...especially Judy Blume's books!

Gentle Reader said...

robin--those teachers, they just can't help being inspirational!

heather (errantdreams) said...

The tribute sounds wonderful! Unfortunately I didn't know about Judy Blume books growing up, but it's a shame people try to ban them.

aloireads said...

sounds really exciting! have fun, gentlereader and hope you blog about the experience here!

i too love judy blume. i grew up on her too and feel she really met a need for tweens. there was a certain guilt when reading her books - and "are you there god" was actually passed around pretty furtively (and read secretly). as if it were porn hahaha.

Table Talk said...

I loved Judy Blume and always read the Fudge books to my year 4 children. They so identified with Pete. I also had a both amusing and sad incident where a year 6 girl (who thought she was a year 10 at least!) tried to shock me by bringing 'Forever' into class and asking me if I'd like to read it, especially the bits about Ralph. Actually, it needed very careful handling and I would have liked to have strangled her mother who was the one who had taught it it was smart to behave like that.

M. said...

Hi. Found your blog via Bookblogger Appreciation Week, and chose your site from the dozens available because I liked your name. I loved Judy Blume also growing up! Must now go visit her blog.

Gentle Reader said...

heather--I agree completely, it's an absolute shame to ban books!

aloi--you're right, there was a furtive feeling when reading her books, and we definitely thought "Forever" was like porn!

table talk--yikes! I know the bits you're talking about, and I don't know how you navigated that minefield. Totally inappropriate for that age!

m.--I'm so glad you found me! And I hope you enjoy Judy Blume's blog--I thought it was rather informative!