Saturday, April 16, 2011

Are You There Judy? It's me Juliana

After writing my blog about how I love being the mother of boys I realized there is one thing that I cannot share with them...my Judy Blume collection.  Guess I could tell my Mom after all these years that she can donate them. Those books really were important to my life.....if anyone has the equivalent of a boys' series send them my way, however, I think it may be Treehouse, Goosebumps and other adventures for us.


These books  made you realize that you were not the only one going through something and also gave those of reading it (who seemed like every girl at the time) a way to bring up these topics.  In "Blubber" I found another girl who struggled with weight.  I totally related to her struggles to fit in a size 2 world with a size 8 body. In "Are You There God It's Me Margaret?" Margaret had many of the same questions and doubts and by the end of the book we both had a better understanding of "God" and puberty. It also spoke of first periods, big topic at the time I was reading it, who had it, who was hoping to get it, what it meant.  The book talked about the debate on getting a bra that you were bound to have with your Mother. If this is making you uncomfortable you may want to read her book it will show you that periods and boobs are just as natural as wondering what God is and that belief does not have to be defined by long dead authors in ancient spaces.


Then when I was still far off from having this type of relationship "Forever" made it's way around our school.  I think most people I know read it at least 4 times, okay mostly for some of the passages.  I do not remember the boyfriend's name but do remember Ralph, if you are smiling then you too read that book, if you are not well ....it was a part of the boyfriend, smile now.  I also remember the heartache and the fact that it had one of the best lines about relationships ever "Have you thought about how this will end?". Toward the end of high school I had some back problems and was diagnosed with scoliosis. "Deenie" and I had so much of those same fears, the idea of a brace was devastating to a teenager, luckily I have such a mild case the only brace I knew was in Judy's book. I read most of her books including her adult book "Wifey".  The common theme in them was the fact that we are all different and yet we all feel much of the same things.  That we should question religion, convention, sexuality, "norms", and make choices only after we get answers and understand the consequences.


In writing this I decided to look up info on Judy and am sad and angry.  Her books are some of the most challenged books and censored.  In 2005 "Forever" was the most censored book and "Are You There God It's Me Margaret" is on the list of 100 most challenged books in America. The idea of censoring books is so abhorrent to me, so against the very basis of what freedom means that censorship itself should be the only thing that makes that list.  Blog on censorship coming....definitely and as we say in Queens "censor this".  How frail is your belief system that you feel a book can topple it? The other thing I believe I got from Judy Blume was a desire to write.  I still am toying with the idea....if you are a reader think of the books or authors who have changed you or captured you or transported you.  For me there have been others after Judy but growing up she really was more than just a name on the front cover of a book she was the voice I needed inside my soul.

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