Saturday, 6 June 2015

Judy Blume: Childhood Hero and Literary Rockstar

Judy Blume is one of those authors that defines childhood for me; I grew up reading and rereading her books.

I devoured her Fudge series, delighting in the hijinks of Peter Hatcher, Fudge, and the great Sheila-the-Great.  As an only child, I loved stories of siblings, even when they were getting into trouble.

I can still remember reading Just as Long as We're Together and Here's To You, Rachel Robinson and finding them extremely timely.  When I was in the fourth grade, our family moved to a new area and that meant a new school.  I can still remember having a conversation with a girl, who I ended up becoming very good friends with, asking if we were best friends.  I was somewhat horrified because I already had a best friend so that position was already filled.  It didn't occur to me that you could have more than one.  Looking back, I can only smile because as I have learned over the years, as Rachel Robinson and friends did, yes, you can indeed have two best friend.

Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret is still to this day one of the most profound books I've ever read.  And yes, as with many girls, I totally tried to make my boobs bigger while chanting "I must, I must, I must increase my bust!"

I somehow missed reading Deenie as a teenager.  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??  I mean, I have scoliosis!  I had to wear a back brace for a year in high school!  How did I miss that the one and only Judy Blume had written a book about this very subject?!  I remedied this last year and all I can say is, man, 15 year old me would have really appreciated that book.

But, I digress.

So, as you may have heard, Judy Blume had a bit of a comeback this year.  It's been over a decade since she published her last book, (Double Fudge in 2002) and that was written for young adults.  Her new book, In the Unlikely Event is most definitely a book for adults, and as hoped for (and secretly expecting) it was just wonderful.  It is somewhat autobiographical since it is set against a backdrop of actual events that Blume experience in the early 1950's growing up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where over the course of several months, three airplanes fell from the sky, leaving the community reeling in the face of tragedy.  But, it wouldn't be a Judy Blume book if we left it just at that.  This is a story about growing up, about falling in love (be it for the first time or not), about friendships and family, and about how life will always go on.

I love this book; I couldn't put it down.  I laughed and I cried.  It made me think and feel.  This is a story about real people, and as I read it, they were real to me.  After I had read the last page, I sighed and hugged the book to me.  You know that feeling you have when you haven't seen an old friend in a long time?  That excitement at reconnecting after so many years apart?  That right there.  That's how I'm feeling right now.  It was so good to see you again Judy.

*Many thanks to Penguin Random House for the ARC!

No comments:

Post a Comment

“Most of the time, there is no truth, only various levels of interpretation. Fact is a construct we provide to the public.”

The Ashford Affair  by Lauren Willig I really enjoyed Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series and thought I would give one of her stan...