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Judy Blume

Back before J.K. Rowling was writing about witches and goblins or whatever the hell is going on in those Harry Potter books, there was Judy Blume, who was much less subtle when it came to dealing with touchy teen-aged topics like sexuality, masturbation, racism, menstrual periods, being fat, and oh so much more.

Hey Jude, Take a Sad Song and Make it Better

Her books were often challenged in public libraries as being inappropriate for children, but that’s exactly who benefited from them the most, because elementary school is an unwieldy sexual cauldron of wild rumors, tall tales, raging hormones, intentional disinformation, and downright lies. The teachers are afraid to mention sex as an educational topic, the parents certainly don’t seem excited to broach the subject, and the other kids are wildly misinformed, sharing whispered speculations about how even accidentally touching your own genitals could instantly give you hairy palms, macular degeneration, and forever halt the growth of your penis.

Then there’s Judy Blume, like a modern day Kinsey for Kids, whose titular characters might need to learn some rather saucy lessons. Such as in the case of Deenie, the chronic masturbator whose own coming-of-age story involved learning that her self-abuse was in fact NOT the cause of the scoliosis that threatened to ruin her burgeoning modeling career. Finally, a source you could trust. Judy was definitive and irreproachable. You could almost hear forty million kids breathing a huge collective sigh of relief.

But it wasn’t just all sex. Judy was able to remember that sometimes little things are a REALLY BIG DEAL when you are twelve, but she also knew how to setup a juvenile public urination joke like no one else. Most importantly, she could teach you a really important life lesson in 120 pages or less. In fact, you should probably go back and re-read a couple of them right now, because frankly, everyone could use a Judy Blume booster from time to time, if only as a reminder of the kinds of problems you used to have.

Judy Blume is effing awesome.


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