On Sunday, in a theatre in San Francisco, a queue of hundreds of 30 and 40-something women stretched down the block. We were there to see The Breakfast Club’s Molly Ringwald talk to the high queen of teenage fiction Judy Blume about her new adult novel In The Unlikely Event, and we were giddy.
The air was thick with estrogen (I could feel my menstrual cycle syncing with the room after about ten minutes) and when Molly started to cry as she introduced Judy we were all right there with her. Here were the ten moments that made my inner teenager do a little joyous twerk.
- Being in the queue with other Blumers and knowing I was with my people.
Hearing one woman turn to another and say “I don’t think anyone of our generation named any boys Ralph.”
- When Judy spoke about her father and being analyzed by students.
“I adored my father and he was much beloved in our town and the character of Doctor O, a dental hero, I always have dental heroes, is inspired by my father. My early editor Dick Jackson, the first editor of the books you all grow up on said said to me ‘Judy someday a graduate student is going to do her or his thesis on teeth in Judy Blume books.’”
- When she revealed that what she’d really really like to do next is musical theatre. Then said tits.
“I have one fantasy left, Sally J Friedman on the stage,” she said, referring of course to Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself. She’s even in early talks to make that musical happen. She also mentioned her favorite song from Chorus Line. “I want to sing Tits And Ass.”
- When it turned out Judy could have really used her own Judy Blume book when it came to periods.
“My father tried to tell me about the menstrual cycle and it ended up being something about the lunar cycle so every time the moon was full I would go the window and look at the moon and say ‘all the women in the world are doing this now.’ I couldn’t wait.” Not that Judy Blume as your mother makes you safe from confusion, Judy said her daughter asked her ouija board when her period would come.
- When she dashed a few dreams with a gentle rejection.
“For all of the women who ask me to write a book about Margaret in menopause, it’s not going to happen. But in the first two pages of In The Unlikely Event Miri, who is a major protagonist, she does get a hot flash.”
- When she was asked her idea to change the world and she totally Blumed it.
“Be kind to each other”
- The letter Judy’s daughter wrote her from camp years ago that later inspired a letter in Wifey.
“There is no steak, there is no rost [sic] beef. Only two cookies a day. I am all bones.”
- On writing about sex in the seventies and why it wasn’t a big deal.
“Hey, I met my husband at the tail end of the seventies and he moved in two days later and that was 35 years ago.”
- When she told us why she wrote about Ralph the penis.
“I wrote Forever for the worst reason in the world, you never write a book because somebody asks you to. But my daughter who was 14 and was reading a lot of books in which if a girl succumbs to this thing something terrible will happen. She will die, she will be sent away forever. Boys never had any feelings. Girls never had any interest in sex. So Randy asked me could I write a book in which two nice kids do it and nobody has to die.”
- When Judy, who by now I was sure is my soulmate, talked about growing up a reader.
”My parents gave me one of the greatest gifts, I think of all, by making me feel that reading is a good thing. Something to be celebrated. They were never afraid of what I was reading, reading was good. There was never a time I was told ‘you can’t read that book.’”
Book Riot Live is coming! Join us for a two-day event full of books, authors, and an all around good time. It’s the convention for book lovers that we’ve always wanted to attend. So we are doing it ourselves.