I received an email from a friend this morning wishing me a “Happy Blumesday,” and I wanted to extend those wishes out to you all.
“Blumesday” is a day dedicated entirely to Judy Blume and her children’s and young adult books. The day was first conceived by a pair of Blume devotees reacting to “Bloomsday” (which occurred this past weekend), a separate day to commemorate James Joyce and his work, Ulysses. So, the two competing “Days” celebrate works of decidedly different bents and target audiences, but both are equally worthy, in my opinion.
Blume’s novels hold a special place in my heart because, along with writers like Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, and Beverly Cleary, they were some of the first novels I read on my own. They fell at that critical juncture in my own reading development: right in between “Mom, will you read me a bedtime story?” and “Mom, I’ve got this, I am ready to read on my own.”
For me, what made Blume such a formative reading experience was her cast of silly, flawed, and indelibly loveable characters. It’s been decades since I first read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, The Pain and the Great One, and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, But even all of these years later, I remember exactly where I was and how I felt when reading Judy Blume’s books. I remember the horror I felt when Peter discovered that his pesky little brother, Fudge, had eaten his pet turtle. I remember the way my girlfriend and I huddled with our twin copies of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, mesmerized by Blume’s portrayal of what we had to look forward to (dread?) from our approaching teenage years.
Blume’s books hold a special place in so many adults’ hearts because of that critical sliver of time they take us back to. Those formative years when life is first starting to get complicated, though we are still clinging to the last strands of childhood innocence. Those awkward, exciting, scary but also exhilarating years in which we found ourselves right on the cusp of childhood and teenagerdom. Perhaps holding Blume’s books and reading alone in our rooms afforded us some of the first tastes of freedom we were all beginning to crave back then.
Do you have a favorite Blume book or character?