Sunday, February 03, 2008

Judy Blume's Forever

Judy Blume on her frequently-suppressed novel Forever:

I ask her whether she was aware when she wrote Forever - at once her most loved and most reviled book - of the effect it would have. She shakes her head. 'No, no, no. Who knows things like that? If you do, then you are not going to meet with success because it's going to be so contrived.' She says she wrote the book for her teenage daughter: 'She asked me for a story about two nice kids who have sex without either of them having to die,' recalls Blume. 'She had read several novels about teenagers in love. If they had sex, the girl was always punished - an unplanned pregnancy, a hasty trip to a relative in another state, a grisly abortion, sometimes even death. Lies. Secrets. Girls in these books had no sexual feelings and boys had no feelings other than sexual.'

For the rest of Melissa Whitworth’s interview with Blume, click here.

I’m not sure that I ever read Forever. But I do vividly recall being taunted with sexual terminology from it by one of the popular girls in my sixth grade class along the following lines:

Popular girl: Do you know what _____ means?

Me: Of course I know what _____ means.

Popular girl: Tell me what it means then.

Me: Um...

Because, of course, I had no idea what _____ meant.

However, I had read all of the Blume books that were available in the children’s department of the library (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Deenie; and, Then Again, Maybe I Won’t all stand out in my memory), and my experience with the sixth-grade bully didn’t sour me on those. It just made me determined to find out what _____ meant. All of which reminds me that I’ve been meaning to get a copy of Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, a collection of essays by noted female authors about Blume's enduring influence on their lives and work. Perhaps I should have a go at writing such an essay myself…

6 comments:

Lisa said...

I am about halfway through the essay book. It's good, but mainly I keep thinking that my memory of Judy Blume is nil or that maybe I didn't actually read them. _Forever_ is the one most mentioned, and I am certain I did not read that.

Camille said...

That collection of essays sounds great. I read tons of Judy Blume and I definitely read Forever. I actually felt so guilty because I made my little sister buy it for me because I had no money at the bookstore that day. She, of course, didn't know what it was about. So I read it and then one day...it was gone. To this day, I wonder if my mom found it and "disposed" of it for me?!

LK said...

I adored Judy Blume as a preteen. I will keep an eye out for the essays.

sassymonkey said...

I read the essays and came to the conclusion that I had combined about three of her books into one in my head and I now have no earthly clue what Are You There God? It's Me Margaret is really about.

I did make me want to re-read all her books though.

krishuck said...

I remember reading Judy Blume's Are You There God, It's me Margaret in 5th grade. I learned so much from that book about the changed my body was about to make. It is so strange to me how people would want to challenge or ban Judy Blume's books because of their content when really they are great for learning. I personally love Judy Blume and support all of her books. I would love to read the collection of essays.

Amy said...

I was a huge Judy Blume reader! I remember reading Forever but not really understanding what it was all about - I must have been just a bit too young for it. But Are You There God, It's Me Margaret was seminal for me, opening my eyes and mind to so many things that didn't get discussed in our house. My sister bought me a copy of it for my 40th birthday and re-reading confirmed for me even more what a contribution Judy Blume's books made to my adolescence.