Judy Blume: A Biography, written by Kathleen Tracy, discusses Judy Blume’s life as a young children and through her more than 30 years of writing. The book begins with Blume’s life as a young girl born in 1938. She loved to read, but was confused why there were no books to discuss the topics in her mind, the ones she feared discussing with her family.When Blume finally gained enough courage to write, she decided that she wanted to write about the common problems children face, the problems she faced, so other kids had a book they could relate to. Blume said, “It’s really hard to be a child, and no one has shown just how hard it is” (p. 60). The book that really sparked Blume’s career was Are you There God? Its Me, Margaret, which was published in 1970. This was one of the first books to ever discuss a child’s question about religion, puberty, and friendship.
I never knew that Blume struggled to become a writer. She spent a few years taking care of her children as a stay-at-home mom and doing various small-scale projects before gaining the courage to follow her dreams. I also had no idea how much censorship Blume faced. Teachers banned her books from their classrooms, parents refused to let their children read it, and whole schools refused to have any Blume books in their libraries. She was the most banned author in the United States from 1982-1996! She eventually joined the National Coalition Against Censorship and advocates for the freedom to read.
This biography on Judy Blume was incredibly insightful to me because it gave me an in depth look at the life of the woman behind all the books I found comfort in reading when I was growing up. Readers often say that Blume is so relateable and honest, and her biography showed that she faced many obstacles as she grew up as well. She got divorced twice, received major rejection, and battled censorship groups. Blume said that she “wanted to be honest- maybe because [she] felt grown-ups hadn’t been honest with [her] when [she] was a kid” (p. 112). Literature is so powerful and can have a profound impact on students. She said she didn’t know why she became so successful as an author, “except that there must be something [she] does that makes people see themselves in [her] stories” (p. 133).