Rediscovering Judy Blume
July 19, 2010
Recently I came across a new edition of Judy Blume’s most popular tween novel entitled Are You There GOD? It’s Me Margaret, and it brought back memories of my experience with this title. At the time in my grade school, AYTGIMM was put away on a shelf for the sixth graders. My friends and I thought we were mature for our age and could handle the subject matter of this much talked about book, plus we were not going to be at that particular school next year. We, the future sixth graders of America, were moving to the junior high. A few of us, the daughters of baby boomers and former hippies, decided to buck the school library system and tried checking out this taboo Judy Blume title. Of course we got caught and the school librarian had words with our teacher who secretly was cheering us on. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the sixth grade, I had forgotten all about Margaret. It wasn’t until a month ago that I got the harebrained idea to revisit my tween years and read some of the books that had so unjustifiably been kept from me due to age.
For the past few weeks, I have mowed through “AYTGIMM”, “Blubber”, and “Forever”. I have scoured through Judy Blume’s amazing website learning what inspired her to write all of her novels. She is wonderful at tapping into what it’s like being a kid and a teen. From bullying, annoying siblings, scoliosis, racism, friendship, death of a parent, divorce, and the reason she has become the most censored young adult author: religion and sexuality. In her novels, she covers a problem a teen may have and handles it in such a way as to not sound preachy or trying to teach a lesson. The main character sorts it out themselves without adults coming to the rescue or providing the missing piece to the problem. It’s mind blowing that she has been censored by schools and parents for her subject matters since her way of handling these situations could easily become discussion points for teens and adults.
Upon doing research about Judy Blume’s books I ran across a book that brought back memories of books I read during my teen years and other great books that may be over looked because of their date. In another book I looked at, several well known authors wrote essays about the Judy Blume books that changed their lives. So if you’re looking for a great old book to read that you can talk to your local librarian about, check out these compilation books:
- Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume - Edited by Jennifer O’Connell
- Shelf Discovery: Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading - By Lizzie Skurnick
Crystal M.Tags: juvenile fiction, reading, Books