7 things we learned from Judy Blume

We were thrilled to have Judy Blume join us for a webchat - it was all we hoped for and more. Here are seven things we didn't know about the literary legend

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1. Her zest for life comes from her father

Copyright Claire Molden

"He always said to make every day special, to enjoy every day. Sadly, he died suddenly when he was just 54. I was 21 and have never forgotten… He would get such a kick out of all of this."

2. She wanted to break the masturbation taboo

"I was so naïve when I started writing I didn't even know I was being 'controversial'. I was determined because I wished I'd had something to read when I was Deenie's age that let me know it was okay. Luckily, I had girlfriends who also talked about their special places and those good feelings. We had no idea what it was called, only that it seemed to be something that happened to us, something we didn't talk to our parents about."

3. She survived without YA fiction

"In our house, reading was a good thing. That's one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me - the freedom to choose, to browse in their bookshelves even when I was too young to understand what I was reading. I loved glimpsing life as an adult. Remember, there were no YA books when I was young. I went directly from children's books to grown up novels at 12."

4. She's changed

"I'm the same person, yet different. I know different things now, have had different experiences. I doubt I could write my early books now."

5. She and her husband have opened a bookshop

"We opened our store at the end of January so we're still new but readers seem hungry for 'real' books - to hold them, see them, even sniff them. This is true all over the US. Even Amazon is opening bricks and mortar stores. So, fingers crossed, this trend will continue."

6. Even Judy had trouble parenting teens

"I had my share of problems when my kids were teenagers. I'm not sure my daughter ever thought I understood her at that age. Both kids were readers so that helped. I used to leave books around the house. That still works." 

7. It's never too late to take a year out

"I'm taking a gap year to work in the bookstore. Every day I wake up, look skyward, and say - thank you for not making me write today. 47 years of writing may be enough. In the Unlikely Event is the book I want to go out on. Though I said the same after Summer Sisters!"

Judy Blume's last (sob!) book for adults, In The Unlikely Event, is out now in paperback. It is the story of a community reeling from disaster in the early 1950s - and is based on real events that Judy herself experienced. She described it as "the book I was meant to write, the story I was meant to tell."

Last updated: over 1 year ago