From Publishers Weekly
This collection of 24 essays edited by O'Connell (Plan B
) pays tribute to the influence of Judy Blume and her work about coming-of-age as a girl in America. In each piece, the writer reveals what O'Connell calls her "Judy Blume moment," telling a heartfelt and revealing story that reflects the same social awkwardness and true-to-life experiences Blume conveys in her novels, from menstruation to childhood bullying to masturbation. In "Cry, Linda, Cry," Meg Cabot recalls how Blume's book Blubber
taught her how to laugh at herself, while also giving her the courage to stand up to schoolgirl bullies. Likewise, Stephanie Lessing, in "The One That Got Away," reflects on Blume's It's Not the End of the World
, explaining the solace she found in its understanding of what it's like when parents divorce. Readers who similarly found solace and support in Blume's work should relate easily to these writers through the Blumian characters and themes they evoke. Writing in the spirit of Blume, these women present their experiences as a series of personal truths: "girl moments. Woman moments, Human moments." (June)
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"I remember how painful it was to be invisible to those other kids. And I think of Judy Blume, whose . . . name will always mean friendship to me," writes Berta Platas. "She allowed me to save myself," says Meg Cabot. In stories contributed by many well-known female writers, this anthology pays homage to the "guru" of adolescent experience. Many nostalgic selections speak about the crucial comfort that a Blume novel brought during an author's teens, soothing worries about body image, parental divorce, friendship scuffles, sex, and masturbation. Also striking are the many essays about "Judy Blume moments" in adult life. For one author, rereading Forever helped her reenter the dating world as a single thirtysomething. Another contributor remembers the teenage reassurance she'd found in Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, when, after childbirth and breast-feeding, she once again suffered from "boob drama." Funny, poignant, honest, and reverential, these stories will resonate strongly with the legions of readers who, like the authors, are grateful and lifelong Blume devotees. Engberg, Gillian