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Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume Hardcover – June 5, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

"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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (June 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416531041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416531043
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on August 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Judy Blume is one of the most beloved and well-known authors of our time. She has written countless stories for pre-teens, teens, and adults alike, and millions of readers have been charmed by her lovable characters and easy-to-relate-to storylines.

In EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, twenty-four of the most popular female authors today, including Megan McCafferty, Jennifer O'Connell, Megan Crane, Cara Lockwood, and Meg Cabot, contribute essays relating their own experiences with Judy Blume.

Covering everything from their own "Judy Blume moments" to hiding under the covers with Forever . . ., these stories are intensely personal recollections that offer an insight into the influence that Judy Blume's works have had on everyone who reads them.

As a Judy Blume fan myself, I really loved reading this book, and it brought to mind my own memories of reading her novels. Whether you just want to know more about some of your favorite authors today, or, like me, you grew up with Blume and her characters, this book is well worth reading and you definitely don't want to miss it.

Reviewed by: Andie Z.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book did something surprising to me---it made me feel very old! I am not really VERY old yet, although my teenager might think so, but I guess I am old enough so the Chick Lit style of writing doesn't really appeal to me. Most of the essays here are written in that style---they are very centered on the feelings and experiences of the writer, and most of the writers seem convinced that their own thoughts and feelings and childhood family are quite fascinating. Almost every essay follows the same path---telling about a childhood experience and then telling how they read a Judy Blume book and it made them realize they weren't alone in what they were feeling.

My friends and I read plenty of Judy Blume growing up too, and I admire her as a writer. However, we didn't really read her because she mirrored our own lives. Her characters live in a pretty small world, really---suburban,fairly well-to-do families. It's the world she herself knows, and she writes about it very, very well. It didn't really interact much with the world we lived in, in rural Maine, mostly in families that struggled with money. Although of course some issues of childhood are universal, I think the book would have been more powerful if we heard from some authors who lived a life UNLIKE those of the characters in Blume's books. Maybe that is what I find I don't like about chick lit type books also. Although they probably don't think so, the writers and the characters usually share membership in a pretty exclusive club---suburban or urban professionals or the children of such!

I don't meant to knock this book. I think if I had lived that life or if I lived it now, and if a Judy Blume book had been a real guide to life for me, I would love reading about others like myself. And if you did, you probably will enjoy this book a great deal.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Often on June 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book was a great trip down memory lane - and yes, I too wish I could have contributed an essay. It was great to read how Judy affected other girl's lives just like she helped me through so many issues. I would have loved to see some more diverse essays though- too much Forever and Are you there God- no Tiger Eyes which was one of my favorites. (I think it got a slight mention in the essay about mothers.) Anyway, well worth the read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Molly P. on September 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book features a wide variety of young adult and chick lit authors paying tribute to Judy Blume in different ways. The authors range in age from late 20's to late 40's, and each of the 24 essays is unique. The idea was to write something along the theme of the book's title, but surprisingly, many different approaches were taken. Some of the contributers wrote about incidents in their lives and compared them to events in Judy Blume books. Others described how reading a particular JB book had made a difference in their lives, or helped them in some adolescent situation. Still others analyzed elements of JB books heavily and only briefly compared them to their own childhoods or lives.

Among the essays, JB's novels "Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret", "Forever", and "Deenie" seem to be discussed more often than others. Some get only a few mentions, and others, such as "Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great" are virtually overlooked. JB fans of my generation will be pleased to know "Just as Long as We're Together" is featured in several essays.

This collection of essays is sure to please fans of chick lit and/or fans of Judy Blume. I enjoyed some of the essays more than others, and have found myself wanting to read the published novels of several of these ladies, since I enjoyed their writing so much. Overall, it is almost like reading a JB book in and of itself. It'll take you right back to adolescence. You'll relate, you'll remember, you'll laugh, and best of all, you'll be immersed in some high-quality, honest writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Literary Marie on February 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title says it all. There aren't too many women out here that do not agree. At least one of her books made a girl feel normal. You may have even thought that Judy Blume was writing about you through at least one of her characters.

Over twenty of the most popular female authors pay tribute to Judy Blume by offering their personal experiences. This collection of 24 essays will bring up memories of how Judy Blume had an effect on your childhood growing up. The common books discussed were "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret," "Forever," "Deenie," and my personal favorite "Just As Long As We're Together."

I remember wishing for a bigger bust-size just like Margaret. "I must, I must, I must increase my bust" was a daily chant. And I remember the time in the 4th grade when my best friend felt jealous because I befriended someone else. Our confrontation was almost identical to Stephanie and Rachel's.

"You can have more than one best friend at a time."
"No, you can't."
"Why not?"
"Because best means best."

In the end, we came to a compromise. We're still true friends to this very day.

Judy Blume had a story for everything a girl could possibly go through: religion, parents divorcing, friendships, relationships, sexual desires, and more. Her coming-of-age stories helped us through those times. Even now as an adult, I think back to the lessons she taught me. I agree 110% that everything I needed to know about being a girl I learned from Judy Blume.

February 14, 2010

' L Marie '
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