Judy Blume — who is now 85 and the owner of a bookstore in Key West — is such a seminal, beloved figure in my literary life, I can’t imagine that there would be a generation that might not have been touched by her work. And hopefully now I won’t have to: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret is finally coming to the screen, with big names like Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates anchoring it, produced by James L. Brooks, and written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig (Edge of Seventeen, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Haley Lu Richardson, which I liked). At the very least, I hope the movie drives girls toward the original book. But it’d be great if it does gangbusters and kindles a greater interest in Hollywood for important stories about girls and young women.
Everyone I know in my demographic has specific memories of MULTIPLE Judy Blume books. I read Forever probably earlier than I should have; it was the first book I’d ever encountered that described a penis, or sex, and I just COULD NOT picture it. The whole thing sounded absurdly foreign to me, and the fact that the boy had a mustache** was just… no. But reading it made me feel impossibly grown-up, even if I didn’t understand it. And obviously, to this day, I can hear in my head the chant, “We must! We must! We must increase our bust!” And — I’m pretty sure I’ve told this story before — the Fudge books were the first ones where I saw the word “gross” written out. For some reason I had only ever spelled it in my head, and I thought it was spelled “groase,” and that “gross” was pronounced to rhyme with “moss” and was some kind of synonym. I don’t know, y’all. I probably misread “grease” in a book somewhere along the line. And I read and reread Just As Long As We’re Together until it fell apart; it’s about a tight friendship that slowly falls apart, for a number of reasons, including a new girl and the fact that one of them starts dating a guy with — gasp — hair on his legs.
Anyhoo, in addition to Margaret, coming out at the end of April, there’s a documentary called Judy Blume Forever dropping on Amazon Prime on April 21. Variety did a long chat with Judy, and it’s delightful, as you might imagine. She looks wonderful on this cover. And I hope, one way or another, Judy Blume truly IS forever.
** Mara Brock Akil, of Girlfriends and Being Mary Jane, is apparently developing this one. I hope she edits out the mustache.