Everything I Needed To Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume

edited by Jennifer O'Connell

"I think what Judy has tried so hard to say: you are not any one thing. You are many. Don't let them make you believe that this is an either/ or world" - Laura Ruby

This book is a collection of essays, written by women writers who have been influenced by another woman writer - Miss Judy Blume.  Each essay is written by an acclaimed writer, who reveals something that she has learned in her childhood or formative years by reading the works of Judy Blume.  These writers explain that it was Blume who helped them through risqué topics such as puberty, menstruation and masturbation.  It was Blume who taught them about friendships, first loves, and first losses. Blume presented them with difficult topics such as sex, divorce, racism, and bullying.  

The essays all make reference to different lessons that the women learned from a Blume novel.  While the novels that they make reference to are different, the essays have some common threads.  The first is that Blume helped them through adolescence when it seemed like no one else could.  The second is that Blume's books were often contraband items in classrooms or in households.  The third is that Blume's books, and the messages in them, stayed with these women forever. 

In her books, Blume doesn't tell you what do to about your problem.  She presents a situation and has her character respond to it in a certain way.  She helps her reader see that she (or he, I guess) is not alone, which sometimes is enough for a teenager in crisis.  Blume writes about things that teenagers are talking about, in a very natural way.  I think that's why her books were so shocking (for adults) and popular (for adolescent girls).  

I loved this collection of essays.  I liked learning about my favourite popular women writers of today.  I also loved reading about Blume's novels; it made me want to go back and read them all again.  At the time when I devoured these books, they were not new.  I hope that I will find, like the essay-writers in this collection, that the characters, messages, and sentiments are timeless.  I wonder what Judy Blume will manage to teach me this time around. 

♥ Meg xoxo

PS.  In case you've never heard of her... Check out Judy Blume's books on Amazon. 

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