Tales of a Beloved Author: Judy Blume Hosts Reddit AMA. Here Are 12 the Best Moments from the Chat
Chances are you probably learned more about the birds and the bees from Judy Blume than from your junior high Sex Ed class (or your parents). Blume’s novels have always been a subject of controversy regarding age-appropriate literature, but there's no one else teens would rather have introduce and guide them through the traumatic trials of menstruation (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret), divorce (Just as Long as We’re Together), bullying (Blubber), and of course, sex (Forever). Blume’s work even inspired the publication of an essay anthology, Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, in which 24 notable female authors rave about the Blume's positive effect on their tortured teenaged souls.
On Monday night, Blume hosted a reddit AMA in order to promote the recently-released film adaptation of her 1981 classic, Tiger Eyes. Redditors swarmed to sing the author’s praises, bursting with euphoric exclamations of “You’re my hero!” and “I’ve been wanting to meet you since I was nine!” (We feel you.) Blume responded to questions on a variety of topics, including a peek at her new novel, tips for writing, and her fantasy friendship with Beverly Cleary:
Iamaee3: Everybody here is talking about how they loved your books when they were little. What were your favorite books when you were little?Jude Blume: The Betsy-Tacy books by Maude Hart Lovelace. Still wonderful books.
Iamaee3: Did you always know that you wanted to write books? When you were younger, did you aspire to do something completely different?JB: Had no idea it was even possible to grow up to write books. I wanted to be a cowgirl, an actress, or a detective.
slenderfox: Your books taught me from a young age then throughout my teen years that everything I'm afraid of when it came to growing up was completely normal. At the same time, your stories weren't preachy. Your characters didn't demand that I be the same as they are. They dealt with life in their own unique ways, and offered me a chance to relate - which I did. Your books matter to young audiences, and those types of books are sorely needed. And that's where my question comes in: what inspired you to write for teens and children?JB: I never thought about writing anything but kids' books when I started. I identified with kids. I identified with the kid inside me.
cyott: What inspired you to write Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret?JB: I wanted to let go and write what I knew to be true about sixth grade. Much of the character of Margaret is based on me at that age, but the story and her family is fiction.
grant0: What's the best thing you ever received from a fan? Did you ever realized what an impact your books were having?JB: My readers' loyalty. Dangerous to think about impact. Makes it too scary to get into that little room and write.
Minifig81: How do you get around writer's block when it comes to planning out ideas for books?JB: Don't believe in writer's block. There are good days and not so good days. I get up and do something else knowing that tomorrow it will come. And if it doesn't, then it's wrong, and I have to move on.
thesunfoundme: What is a tip you would have for writing student?JB: Tips for writers -- read everything you write aloud and really listen. You'll edit like crazy! Also, I tell kids, start on the day something different happens.
imissthebeach: Are you and Beverly Cleary friends? Please say yes.JB: I wish! Beverly Cleary was my inspiration. I adore her books and so did my kids. We were supposed to meet last year but then I got a sinus infection and couldn't fly.
Nerdy_And_I_Know_It: What was your favorite book to read in your pre-teen years?JB: I was browsing in my parents' bookshelves by the time I was 12. There were no YA books then. My parents thought reading was a good thing. They weren't afraid of what I was reading. I didn't get it all but it satisfied my curiosity about the grownup world.
janflora: As an aspiring YA writer, I wondered if you are still writing for children and teens, and if you find there is more acceptance of "controversial" topics now. Is there any topic that's off-limits?JB: I'm writing a novel now and have no idea who the audience will be. Don't like thinking in terms of categories. There are both adult and teen characters. It takes place in the (gasp!) 1950s.
Minifig81: What are you currently reading?JB: Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings.
laqueristaa: Why do you choose to write about such touchy subjects?JB: Wait -- is puberty a touchy subject? It happened to me (after a long wait). I think it pretty much happens to everyone.
We'll take it from the expert!
Images: Getty Images, Imgur.