Starring Judy Blume as Sally Freedman

I memorized the spines on the spinning paperback display at my local library probably by the time I was 12. This was where they had all the Paula Danziger books, like The Cat Ate My Gymsuit and There's a Bat in Bunk Five, and Ann M. Martin's older titles like Just a Summer Romance. I must have spent hours twirling that rack, checking to make sure all my favorites were there and keeping my eye out for new additions.

Less often, I wandered over to the middle grade/YA hardcover section. These books were heavy and dull-looking, with less flashy covers. But there were a couple of Judy Blumes that I liked to visit:
Just as Long as We're Together, and Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself. They were thick but completely accessible, and reading them gave me a sense of accomplishment that was missing upon finishing a Sweet Valley High (unless it was a Super Magna Edition, but that's a different story).

Starring Sally J.
is the book that reveals Judy Blume’s true age. She was born in 1938, and Sally's story—set in 1947—might be viewed as a nostalgic look at the author’s own childhood. Reading this as a kid, I mostly liked all of the "new girl at school” parts. Choice phrases like "love and other indoor sports," old-fashioned details about talking on a party line phone, and the tiddly winks scene in the pool were also memorable. I think my brain kind of skipped over the Hitler stuff back then. Now it seems kind of cute (thinking her scary neighbor was actually Hitler), but in a sad way. Judy Blume writes on her website:

When I was nine and ten I was a lot like Sally—curious, imaginative, a worrier. I was always making up stories inside my head. In my stories, which I never wrote down or shared, I was brave and strong. I led a life of drama, adventure and fame. I think the character of Sally explains how and even why I became a writer.

On behalf of story-making and book-reading girls everywhere, thank you.

This is my second post for the Shelf Discovery Challenge. I'll have four more over the first four months of 2010.


Julie P. said...

I remember reading this book over and over again as a young girl. I can't wait to see what I think of it as an adult!

Make sure you add your link to Mr. Linky - http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/2009/11/shelf-discovery-challenge-book-reports.html

inthehammockblog said...

I loved this book, I read it after seeing it on "Fine Lines"!

Jen said...

I'm embarrassed to say this is a Blume I haven't read! But Just as Long as We're Together is still one of my favorite books of all time. I found a copy with the cover I had as a kid (painted with the three of them on the bed) at Goodwill a few weeks ago and almost cried I was so happy!
(the new covers suck)

I also totally felt the same sense of accomplishment when reading a magna edition of SVH. =)

Lily said...

I've never actually picked up a Judy Blume book, but your post has just reminded me that its something I must do!

andrea jean said...

You must, you must, you must read Judy Blume!

Sadako said...

I never read this one actually, I dont' know how I avoided it but I really should. LOVE all things judy.

bermudaonion said...

I remember having a party line and tiddly winks! I think that book would bring back memories for me! Thanks for entering my mini-challenge!