Thursday, June 28, 2007

What did Judy Blume teach you?

In her ALA report, Simone Elkeles wrote this of Judy Blume: "This woman taught me about sex, relationships, how to be a brat, how to increase my bust (which she said, and I quote Judy directly, 'Doesn’t work.' –but I insist it did for me!), among other important things." Then Micol Ostow asked in a comment if meeting Judy Blume is a standard Flux perk.

While this is sadly not the case, Simone and Micol did get me thinking. I learned things from Judy Blume--decidedly different things, mind you. For instance, I first encountered the idea of a family living in an apartment in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (I pictured my own suburban home, except with an elevator). Not as exciting, but still very distinct in my memory.

So, what did you learn from Judy Blume? (And I suppose we should also throw this open to other generation-spanning authors, like Robert Cormier or Flux's own Marilyn Sachs, whose first children's book, Amy Moves In, came out 40 years ago.)

22 comments:

literaticat said...

judy blume taught me about scoliosis and hitler and sex and god and miami beach and periods and the headless horseman.

obviously, i came from a very uncommunicative family, since i had to read about all those things in books!

oh, i learned about apartment buildings, too, that also really stuck with me.

oh, and about some truly wicked ways to bully kids (a dubious lesson).

and about censorship (why the hell wouldn't those librarians let me check out TIGER EYES?)

heidi said...

judy blume taught me about male masterbation (remember the wet dreams stuff in 'then again, maybe i won't?), lame white people who get upset when nice black families move into their neighborhoods (iggy's house), sex (forever), sexual tension (deenie), older depressed sisters who suck on oranges sometimes have zits (also deenie), when father's get shot it sucks (tiger eyes). sheesh what DIDN'T she teach me???

i'm with l-cat. i learned nothing from home,
and instead attended the U. of Judy.

Andrew Karre said...

I don't know what this says about me, but I'm pretty sure I learned about sex initially from Cormier's I Am the Cheese (Amy Hertz's breasts) and then got most of the details from (gulp) V.C. Andrews.

One girl in sixth grade managed to turn Blume's adult novel Wifey into a bit of an underground sensation.

heidi said...

Oh, no. I forgot about VC Andrews and now I must admit to you that I *also* learned way too much about sex from VC. Incestual sex, btw. Did you also read the HEAVEN series?? Oh boy. I also first learned about censorship around the same time after my aunt picked up FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC and told my mom what it was about. After that, let's just say, I had to sneak my VC. I never read WIFEY though--maybe I should pick that up. =9

Andrew Karre said...

Heidi,

Everybody would like to forget about V.C. Andrews...

I read Flowers in the Attic and a sequel or two. Hey, I learned about dance there, too.

heidi said...

Andrew, I'm saddened by this. How can we let the world forget about V.C.? Yes, dance was also taught. Did you read the FREAKY one...uh, it was a girls name and the parents replaced the new girl with the one that died?? Shivers. (Did you notice I didn't say EEK?)

Andrew Karre said...

Well, she did manage to keep on writing books for years after she died, so I don't think there's any dnager of her being forgotten. I just wish I could forget.

heidi said...

LOLOL!!! You know I was so confused by that when I was a kid. I just hope someone takes over for me when I die. Perhaps my mom? You're totally encouraging my hyper-activity today. I even posted about your blog on my lj, so you may have some newbies arriving and commenting. I had to write s.e.x. though because I don't want to lose my PG-13 rating (which was caused by my support of carrie's book. i had SIX 'bad words.' guess what it was? GAY.)

Colleen Cook said...

Judy Blume taught this former Catholic school girl about periods and a new way to talk to God (Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret), masturbation and wet dreams (Then Again, Maybe I Won't), scoliosis and to be nicer to the girl in my class who had to wear a back brace for her own curved spine (Deenie), and male anatomy and sex (Forever). Coming from a family of five girls and one boy, THAT one was a biggie.

Then again, she gave me the horror of realizing my mom read books about sex (Wifey).

The most important gifts Judy Blume gave me were books filled with kid characters who thought and talked like me and my friends. God bless Judy Blume!

heidi said...

yay colleen--did you see my post? oh, i forgot the other one: female masterbation (deenie) with the special spot thing. of course i had NO idea what she was talking about. seriously. course i was like 11 when i read that, but i was happy to know that there was indeed some magic button somewhere. ok. this getting crazy. poor andrew's blog is going to be at NC-17 because of us and he has a publishing house to run. =9 did you read VC, colleen?

Anonymous said...

I learned that my daughter doesn't really appreciate me reading stuff that she reads "Why are YOU reading that?" (are you there God) and that the climax of a book can be a girl's first period,(same) that school libraries sometimes don't pay a lot of attention when stocking books (SUMMER SISTERS in a middle school library}. I also learned, that my kid would RATHER learn about stuff from books (not just from Judy, but from observation) than from her parents. mandabach, as anonymous

carrie jones said...

Judy Blume taught me that slumber parties are WAY more fun when you read the sexalicious parts of FOREVER aloud.

She also taught me how much fun books can be when you pass them around and bond over them.

She also taught me that some girls actually want breasts. We must. We must. We must increase our bust.

And, she taught me that I am not good at writing in diaries. My first diary was a JUDY BLUME DIARY. It had this lovely picture of her on it, and quotes from her books. I filled it with brilliant tidbits, such as: WHY DID GOD MAKE ME BUY A SEE-THRU BATHING SUIT? GOD IS SUCH A JERK. AND I CAN'T BELIEVE BERTRAM ACTUALLY LOOKED AND TOLD DANNY AND THAT DANNY TOLD ME. I HATE HIM. I AM NEVER GOING SWIMMING AGAIN.

Ah, thank you Judy for allowing me to write about such important things.

Anonymous said...

Your see through suit might have been bad, Carrie, but I went into Lake Michigan in a pair of white gym shorts becuase I forgot my suit. When I came out, everyone was laughing. My friend Bill said, "Put on some pants, Brian," and I looked down and saw what they were seeing. omfg, as they would say today.

btw, I meant that I learned from observation that my daughter would rather learn from books than by talking to her parents. And she has gone so far as to tell her mom this preference.
Mandabach anonymously.

heidi said...

lenkaland corrected me on the creepy VC Andrews book: she was not 'replaced' but rather drugged and convinced she was really her sister so she could forget a childhood trauma. what a freaky book. and i'll never mention VC again. my apologies.

Simone Elkeles said...

I forgot to mention that Judy Blume taught me that boys name their "thingy". As a teenage girl, it was the subject of many conversations with my friends. Wifey was absolutely scandalous!

~Simone

heidi said...

gotta present for y'all--

http://seaheidi.livejournal.com/

let the confessions begin.

Christine MacLean said...

Fun topic! I didn't read Judy Blume books until I was an adult. As a tween, I was reading Valley of the Dolls and Our Bodies, Ourselves. That's where I learned about. . .well, everything.

Anonymous said...

I learned that authors could write about stuff like using the bathroom.

And about all these places that New Yorkers think are important but I couldn't picture at all. My distorted images of New York grew worse as I read lots of historic novels set there, too. This is what happens when you are raised without TV.

Varian Johnson said...

It may sound strange to some people, but now that I think about it, I learned a lot about the Jewish culture from Judy Blume.

And sex. I learned a lot about sex.

alexgirl said...

JB cornered the market on all the good sex stuff! I mean, sure I read about it other places (the weird kama sutra book I found in a random bookshelf at my house!), but she taught me about all that good stuff: sex--with others, and with thyself. And boys and their dingalings. And getting yr period. bleh. And annoying siblings.

heidi said...

no announcement for alex's BACK TALK book freshly out?? i posted about it on my lj couple posts back. =9

Micol Ostow said...

Actually I think that BLUBBER stuck with me best. It was the Judy Blume book that I read at the exact corresponding age, so I didn't have to wait around for the lessons to hit home.