Yesterday was Judy Blume's 80th birthday and I cannot believe I missed it. As a kid, Judy Blume was one of my favorites. I adored Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge, Super Fudge, and Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great. So, basically all of them. Judy Blume, unlike most adults, was honest. She talked about subjects that were often glossed over or flat-out ignored in other kid's and YA novels. The New Yorker had this to say about her books: "talismans that, for a significant segment of the American female population, marked the passage from childhood to adolescence". Her brutal honesty regarding issues like puberty, divorce, bullying and subjects such as racism and death brought all the critics to the yard. She is among one of the most challenged authors in recent history, with her books being taken out of school and public libraries. As someone who grew up in a household where reading material was not censored at all, this is unfathomable to me. Not to be discouraged, Judy started several organizations, including The Author's Guild and the National Coalition Against Censorship to help authors, like herself, who's work was seen as too controversial. Despite the criticism, Blume has sold, and continues to sell, millions of copies of her books every year. As she should. Because they are brilliant and necessary.
Though she specializes in books for tween and young adults, Judy has written several books for adults. I confess, I have only read one of them. In the Unlikely Event was released a few years ago and I read it as part of a book club. I say I read it. I devoured it. Classic Judy Blume, she tackled difficult subjects such as post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, pregnancy scares, anorexia, and the grief process. She tackled them honestly and beautifully, in true Judy Blume fashion.
So, if you're unfamiliar with Judy Blume (where have you been?) or, like me, you need to rediscover her, check out her bibliography.