in recent years

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back to school with judy blume: tales of a fourth grade nothing

Dear Judy,

I started talking about Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to my girlfriend last night while we were sitting at the dinner table. Dinner was delicious — mashed potatoes topped with chicken breast, broccoli, onions, and parmesan slivers — and I was expressing my displeasure at feeling pretty blocked with what to write about this one. I read it in about an hour and a half on Thursday morning, set it down on the side table next to our couch, and forgot about it immediately.

This isn’t to say it’s forgettable, Judy! Not at all. Quite the contrary, I learned, as my dinnertime conversation devolved into me screaming, “He ate the turtle! He just ate it! He just   [more…]

back to school with judy blume: it’s not the end of the world

Dear Judy,

It’s Not the End of the World was… I’ve been sitting here trying to do a pun thing and I’m finally giving up. It’s Not the End of the World was okay!

It’s not a book I particularly identify with because, by the time divorce was imminent for my parents, I was kind of praying for it. And maybe that’s what struck me the most — that Karen could be living in a pretty toxic environment and not have realized what was coming, not been hoping for it. My parents are together now — the announcement of their forthcoming divorce ended in my mother’s attempted suicide, subsequent therapy, and a year of separation before they decided to   [more…]

back to school with judy blume: then again, maybe i won’t

Dear Judy Blume,

First, let me say that I’m sorry to hear about your recent bout with breast cancer and that I’m terribly glad that you were on the mend so quickly! And also thank you for writing about it with your usual honesty and good humor. You are as wonderful as ever.

Second, I read Then Again, Maybe I Won’t this week and it was nearly as enjoyable as Margaret. Granted, it is Margaret except with Tony’s boners, and wet dreams for Margaret’s periods and bras. And the central struggle with religion replaced with sudden wealth. Tony even moves to an unfamiliar suburb! Though for entirely different reasons than the Simon’s do.

Had I read this when I read Margaret,   [more…]

back to school with judy blume: are you there, god? it’s me, margaret.

It’s not my original, but it’s the exact edition. It even feels the same. Gawd bless the internet. Gawd bless compulsive vintage buyers. Gawd bless Etsy.

Dear Judy Blume,

I don’t remember a time before Margaret. This isn’t saying much, really, since I can’t really remember much of anything from any period of my life, regardless of age or importance. I remember getting high for the first time and the first boner I ever saw, though, so I guess there are some things that last. Regardless, I don’t remember a time before Margaret and even if it isn’t saying much, it’s saying something.

I must’ve read it for the first time around eight or nine, maybe even younger, and I have the vague   [more…]

back to school with judy blume: an intro

Along with my continued recapping of Face Off (though, LORD, what wretched work are they) I decided to assign myself another project for September.

In early August, I sleepily rolled over to Crystal and said, “I need you to find me two really specific copies of books, okay?” and she said, “… O… kay?” and I proceeded to describe, in detail, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. and Deenie but in their late 70s printings. “It’s purple with like, a very blonde windswept girl on the cover… and the other one… She’s standing in front of an oval mirror and there’s like… some dark yellow.” I was sleepy, but the descriptions were accurate and within two days they were winging their way through the mail to us from Oopsee Daisies on Etsy. Along with a bunch of other vintage kid lit because neither Crystal nor I can control ourselves   [more…]