See, Judy Blume is the epitome of Summer reading for me. In my pre-teen years, I spent long Summer afternoons by the pool poring over Deenie or Superfudge or whichever Blume classic I'd grabbed from the library most recently. I still have my well-loved paperback copies of Just as Long as We're Together and Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, the ones I read the most — often finishing one and immediately starting the other.
So I was delighted to stumble upon this essay collection, which features women writers including Meg Cabot and Megan McCafferty reminiscing about their own experiences reading Blume and the (sometimes shocking) lessons learned from her books. (One essay is titled "Do Adults Really Do That? Does Judy Blume Really Do That?")
For those of you new to my book club format, here's how it works: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in July). In these weekly posts, I'll posit a few discussion-provoking questions for you to respond to in the comments section.
To read more about this month's book and get your first assignment, just read more.
A synopsis of this book reads:
"I remember how painful it was to be invisible to those other kids. And I think of Judy Blume, whose . . . name will always mean friendship to me," writes Berta Platas. "She allowed me to save myself," says Meg Cabot. In stories contributed by many well-known female writers, this anthology pays homage to the "guru" of adolescent experience. Many nostalgic selections speak about the crucial comfort that a Blume novel brought during an author's teens, soothing worries about body image, parental divorce, friendship scuffles, sex, and masturbation. Also striking are the many essays about "Judy Blume moments" in adult life. For one author, rereading Forever helped her reenter the dating world as a single thirtysomething. Another contributor remembers the teenage reassurance she'd found in Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, when, after childbirth and breast-feeding, she once again suffered from "boob drama." Funny, poignant, honest, and reverential, these stories will resonate strongly with the legions of readers who, like the authors, are grateful and lifelong Blume devotees.
The first assignment: Read the first five essays. (Stop before "Cry, Linda, Cry.") We'll discuss this section next Friday, July 10.