Welcome back, Buzz Book Club readers! This month, we're focusing on how one of the iconic authors of my youth affected tons of women writers by reading the essay collection Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume. So far, I've been impressed with just how many of the writers had similar experiences reading and learning from Blume's books — but I'll get to that in a second.
First, for those of you new to my book club format, here's how it works: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in July). In these weekly posts, I'll posit a few discussion-provoking questions for you to respond to in the comments section.
Of course, you are always welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! After the jump, you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this section.
The next assignment: Read from "Cry, Linda, Cry" through "Vitamin K, Judy Blume, and the Great Big Bruise." (Stop before "It Wasn't the End of the World.") We'll discuss this section a week from today, July 17.
Now, to discuss the first section, in which we read through "A Long Time Ago, We Used to Be Friends," just
- Did Forever. . . have the kind of mystique for you that Megan McCafferty describes in the book's opening essay? Or was there another Judy Blume book that did? I remember thinking the period scenes of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret held some kind of secret, revelatory knowledge — but Forever was deemed "the one about sex" and I don't think I ever actually got my hands on a copy!
- What do you think of Jennifer O'Connell's definition of a "Judy Blume moment"? Do you have any "Judy Blume moments" of your own? I know I'm still terrified of Man o' Wars because of Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself.
- Do you think the characters in the Judy Blume books you read were "regular girls," as Stephanie Lessing suggests? Or did they strike you as unrealistic?
- What do you think of the characterization of female friendships in "A Long Time Ago, We Used to Be Friends"? I thought the author captured well the feeling of growing apart from a formerly close friend without even noticing until the break is permanent. At the same time, I think female friends can be a lot more than companions who "travel down the road with [us] as [we] either seek out or wait for The One."
- Is there a particular favorite Judy Blume book of yours that's already come up in an essay? Is there one you hope comes up later?