On Judy Blume's 76th Birthday, Let's Remember the 8 Most Life-Changing Moments in Her Books
If you were needing a reason to celebrate, look no further: today is Judy Blume's 76th birthday. Blume, one of the most popular and beloved authors of the past several decades, brought us titles like Frecklejuice and Deenie, books that have touched generation after generation, and she's shown no sign of slowing down. Last year, she co-wrote and produced the film adaptation of her book Tiger Eyes, and every few weeks, there are new tweets (yes, Blume uses Twitter) about the progress she's making on her new book.
For readers everywhere, it's impossible to imagine a childhood, adolescence, or even adulthood without Blume's books and all the valuable lessons they contain. Women, especially, have benefited quite a bit from Blume's novels; with all of the information about boys, bras, sex, love, and marriage that they contain, to call the author's works "life-changing" would be a bit of an understatement.
In honor of Blume's birthday, let's take a look back at the eight most life-changing moments for women from Judy Blume's many beloved books.
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Deenie Finding Her 'Special Place' in 'Deenie'
Scene: After getting fit for a mortifying scoliosis brace, 13-year-old Deenie comes home and tries to de-stress.
Life-Changing Moment: Deenie talks about her “special place,” and how rubbing it gives her a “very nice feeling.” The real meaning of this might’ve gone over the heads of most readers Deenie’s age or younger, but for adults looking back, it couldn’t be clearer what Blume was talking about.
Caitlyn's Disappearance in 'Summer Sisters'
Scene: Towards the very end of Summer Sisters, one of Blume’s few adult novels, the protagonist, Vix, learns that her best friend has disappeared in an unexplained boating accident, leaving behind a 2-year-old.
Life-Changing Moment: When Vix, Lamb, Abby and the others realize that Caitlyn might’ve purposely chosen to make an escape. In a book about the closeness of female friendship, Caitlyn’s disappearance is a huge, tragic moment for both Vix and the reader, who, until now, had held out hope that Caitlyn might come around.
The Trial in 'Blubber'
Scene: In Blume’s 1974 novel Blubber, a group of fifth-grade girls find themselves pitted against one another when the bullying of an overweight student gets out of hand. In a climatic scene, the girls hold a “trial” to determine who is at fault for a prank, and the entire dynamic is changed. Friends split, enemies unite, and the victim becomes the tormentor.
Life-Changing Moment: When a furious Wendy, the lead bully, tells the protagonist that she should be “sorry [she was] ever born.” It’s a frightening threat, and for young readers, it acted as proof that bullying, even when popularity is at stake, is not worth the trouble.
The Bust-Enhancing Chant in 'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret'
Scene: Flat-chested Margaret, frustrated with her body’s inability to mature faster, turns to her similarly-struggling friends for support.
Life-Changing Moment: A friend, Nancy, suggests that the cure for small breasts is to chant, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust!” thirty-five times a day. Don’t pretend that you didn’t try it, too.
Sally's Latin Lover in 'Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself'
Scene: Sally meets sixth-grade classmate Peter Horstein, the ‘Latin Lover’ of her dreams.
Life-Changing Moment: From her mother, Sally learns that Latin lovers aren’t from Latin, and that Florida pre-teens don’t typically fit the term. Who knew?
The Slam Book Scene in 'Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great'
Scene: At a sleepover party, a group of pre-teen girls decide to pass around a slam book.
Life-Changing Moment: When, predictably, the slam book gets out of hand and the friends start fighting. For readers growing up during the age of slam books, watching Sheila and her friends freak out was a terrifying vision of reality. And for everyone else? It was the moment we realized the Burn Book in Mean Girls wasn’t just a figment of Tina Fey’s imagination.
The Break-Up in 'Forever'
Scene: During a summer apart, high school graduates Katherine and Michael break up, despite having slept together just a few months earlier.
Life-Changing Moment: They break up! Even though they had sex! With this scene, Blume told teenage readers that it was okay to have sex, even if you didn’t end up together forever. That may not seem so profound today, but when the book was published in 1975, it was huge.
Margaret's First Period in 'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret'
Scene: After months and months of waiting, Margaret finally gets her first period.
Life-Changing Moment: Margaret attaches “a Teenage Softie to the little hooks” on her sanitary belt. To anyone under the age of 40, that sentence needed some parental explanation. To older readers? It was confirmation that getting one’s first period was really as exciting as it seemed.