There are two things that prompted me to write about Judy Blume. The first was finding her book ‘Forever’ on my bookshelf from what felt like eons ago. The second was visiting the town where I spent my early teenage years for the first time in about a decade. ‘Forever’, a tiny little book with an orange cover, has never featured in my top books of all time list or anything of the like. But it did, along with other Judy Blume novels, remain memorable nonetheless.
Blume is well known for being one of the first teen authors to deal with issues such as sex, racism and religion in a way that young teens (in particular of the female variety) can easily relate to. The books have been banned in schools due to controversy on their subject matter and having read an article (which was actually from around 2005) about ‘Forever’ being banned in certain schools, I felt the need to throw in my two pennies.
It’s easy to forget, as we grow up, how difficult being a teenager really was. Teenagers are struggling with physical, emotional and spiritual changes, and probably the most difficult feeling is that of loneliness and isolation. Teenagers feel that they are the only ones going through these problems. Judy Blume’s books may not be testaments to excellent literary specimens, and they can even be seen as controversial. But they are also honest, insightful, and written as though Blume has never forgotten the struggles of a young girl. If there is one thing reading Blume will do it is make you feel just a little less alone (and by you I mean teenage you- when you’re past 17 Blume becomes irrelevant). So whilst I was reading about Blume’s books being banned and one parent describing her books as making them feel ‘uncomfortable’, I couldn’t help but feel just a little sad for those young ladies unable to partake in Blume’s work. Because Blume may not change your life, but she will deal with issues that every 15 year old needs to know are not ‘weird’ problems.