Okay, how did this happen? Judy Blume is seventy. Seventy. And I'm thirty-six. I mean, I know how it happened, everyone gets older (except Dick Clark. And Robert Wagner) But Judy Blume is seventy? Wow. How freaking cool.
I started reading Judy Blume in fourth grade. My teacher Mrs. Evans read from Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and I had to get the book and I read it on my own. I then read all of her books; Superfudge was the first hardback book I ever bought with my own money. I still have it too.
And now on her birthday they have Blumesday, where women writers read from her books. No fair! I want to do that too!
Let's go back memory lane, Gentle Readers...
Now with Are you there God? It's Me Margaret I read the old school purple cover. Poor Margaret-I felt sorry for her at times, then there were times I wanted to tell her to relax. God is always there with you, no matter what. I was in Catholic school at the time so I couldn't really grasp how torn she was between religions. However, I read with interest about when she got her period, although I didn't get the belt part. What belt? There's a belt? When I got my period I knew what to do-though I asked my mother "Where's the belt?" She looked at me and said: "How did you know there used to be a belt?"
The Blubber I read (and I just found) had Linda Fisher on the cover, teaching a giggling class about the whale. Needless to say, no one was listening. Reading it now I get angry not so much at the kids but at their clueless teacher, Mrs. Minnish. Did she have any clue what was going on in her classroom?
Now this is the Deenie I remember! The seventies hair, how pretty she was, but she had problems with her back. Oh yeah, and she liked to touch her secret place, how shocking! I always wished there was a sequel-but I like to think that Deenie became a doctor and helped other girls with their problems, and her mother had to get used to saying "My daughter Deenie is also smart, just like my Helen. She's beautiful too!"
There he is! It's Fudge! Along with his older brother Peter, new sister Tootsie, Turtle, Uncle Feather, Grandma, a new school... I was shocked to learn that this book was banned. Okay, Blume's books are ripe for banning, but this one? What could be offensive about Fudge? Oh, he finds out there's no Santa. And how babies are made. Yes, children can't find out about these things! No sirree!
This cover breaks my heart, because the narrator Davey looks so sad and it captures her saddness, her beauty. I got to read this one when I went to Wyoming for a week. I read it so much it got wrinkly and the spine had so many cracks. When my mother lent it out to someone and it looked like she lost it, let's just say I was a unhappy camper for a while. However, the girl found the book and I told my mother if she needed any of JB's books let me know and I'll go to the used bookstore and get them.
I read this one when I was seventeen. I worked one morning at the library and I saw it on the shelf. I thought oh, why not? It was a rainy day and I went in my room, turned on the oldies station, and I snuggled in my bed. I forgot everything as I was brought in the world of these three different girls. When I was done it was dark outside, and I felt amazed that she could still tell good stories.
This was Blume's first "adult" book I read-and I wondered will it still be good? Of course. It made me a little jealous-I wanted to go to the Vineyards for the summer! Those girls were lucky! Yes, very mature at twenty-six.
There's other books, but I'm running out of time. All I can say is, Happy Birthday Ms. Blume. Next year, I want to read at Blumesday.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries