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6 Judy Blume classics you need to reread

BY Idman Omar

5th Jun 2023 Must Reads

6 Judy Blume classics you need to reread

With film adaptations and documentaries in the works, there's never been a better time to revisit the timeless work of pioneering author Judy Blume

Classic children’s writer, Judy Blume, is the very definition of timeless. With her popular children's books published since 1969, Blume positioned herself early on as one of the greats.

Blume’s popular young adult novel Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (first published in 1970) is this year coming to the big screen starring Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates. With the release of this long awaited film also comes Forever by Amazon Prime, an intricate documentary based on the life of Judy and her profound effect on adults who cherished her work as kids, as well as children who still read and adore her work today. 

"Blume’s radical honesty in her books set her apart early on in her career"

Known as one of the most loved and yet banned writers of our time, Blume’s radical honesty in her books set her apart early on in her career. She wrote many coming-of-age books, mainly for girls, and regularly tackled difficult topics with candor.

She explored topics that children and teens seldom got exposed to at the time, topics rarely found in children's books, topics that many writers simply did not discuss as they were viewed as taboo. These included themes such as periods, hormones, puberty and identity issues, as well as divorce, religion and birth control. Due to this, Blume faced backlash and many of her books were banned in American schools.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

The great Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (1970) was one of Blume’s banned books in the 1970s due to the mention of periods, religion and more. It transcended its naysayers and centered Blume as a pioneer. Today it is treasured, loved, and viewed by generations as a powerful book that teaches and empowers young girls to educate themselves, and to question and explore huge topics growing up.

The book is a coming-of-age masterpiece, so much so that plans to adapt it into a film had been in the works for some time for a reason. Simply put, it is still applicable to young girls' lives today in line with social pressures, social relationships and a relationship with God.

Deenie

Deenie by Judy Blume

Deenie (1973) introduces a compelling protagonist of the same name. Deenie Fenner longs to be a cheerleader, yet her mother dreams that she one day becomes a model. Suddenly, diagnosed with scoliosis, Deenie is forced to wear a back brace for years to straighten her spine causing her mother’s dreams of modeling to fade away.

This book has been described as vintage YA. It's inspirational and deals with being "special" and "different". It also highlights parental expectations of teens, and the idea that no one is perfect.

Superfudge

Superfudge by Judy Blume

Superfudge (1980), a frontrunner in the Fudge book series, follows the hilarious Fudge Hatcher, his parents, 11 year old brother Peter and their new baby sister Tootsie as they navigate moving cities and welcoming a new sibling.

Fudge is mischievous and described by Peter as "impossible." This book deals delicately with themes of pregnancy, modern family life, urban and suburban living and tackles dealing with change well which is still relevant to children reading this book today.

Blubber

Blubber by Judy Blume

Blubber (1974) follows Jill Brenner. Jill's classmate Linda is a slightly overweight girl who gives a presentation on whales and is quickly given the insulting nickname, "blubber." A group join forces and tease Linda mercilessly, psychologically and physically.

The book explores bullying, self esteem and sensitivity. This story is an age old one and again, very relevant to young people today. It’s impactful and reveals the many facets of bullying; from subtle to extreme, from bully to bullied.

Iggie's House

Iggie's House by Judy Blume

Iggie's House (1970) is a young adult novel that follows Winnie Barringer who was once best friends with Iggie. Iggie moves away and an African American family, the Garbers move in.

Winnie is quick to make friends with the three kids Glenn, Herbie and Tina. Once the neighbors and her parents call out the Garbers due to their race, Winnie is equally disappointed in both, and hopes for change and understanding. Themes here include racism, hatred and prejudice which are relevant today, especially due to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 

Tiger Eyes

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

Tiger Eyes (1981) stands the test of time as so many of Blume’s books do. The protagonist, fifteen year old Davey Wexler, is coming to terms with the sudden murder of her father. She begins having panic attacks and so the family move to New Mexico. Davey experiences flashbacks and new relationships, and she attempts to mourn her father properly.

This book explores depression, murder and peer pressure among many other themes. Davey’s tale still resonates for young adults. Tiger Eyes embodies the feelings of a teen on the cusp of adulthood tenderly, and accurately as so many of Blume’s novels do. 

"Blume was a pioneer with her unvarnished controversial plots, daring to tell plain truths"

Blume is clearly skilled at teaching young people, as well as understanding them. Historically, she’s always offered kids and young adults frank information that adults did not; she informed her young readers on the things that left adults unsettled, as taboo as they may have been.

Blume was a pioneer with her unvarnished controversial plots, daring to tell plain truths. What is now charming nostalgia coming to life for so many of us, was honesty unwarped for Blume at the time. Yet, through it all, her work is all enduring and relevant, speaking to many generations.

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