"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 28 August 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.





Though she had already published two books, Judy Blume didn't truly burst onto the literary scene until 1971, when Are You There God, It's Me Margaret was published. Since finding "her voice" with the tales of young Margaret's menstruation, bra-padding, and conversations with the Almighty, Blume has built a literary empire, typing titillating tomes that touched topics thought taboo - whether racism, scoliosis, the cruelty of kids, or what to do if you ever run across a penis named Ralph. Now, with the release of her third novel for adults, New York Times best-seller Summer Sisters, Blume seems unstoppable. Though her detractors - fearful and disgusted by the author's prurient topics - remain as strong as ever.

No wonder Blume professes such an ardent opposition to censorship! If she weren't allowed to address juicy topics like masturbation and divorce this would be one author without much material. Blume's first published novel, The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo, is nowhere near as scintillating as her greatest hits. In fact, let's face it: Blume is the Oliver Stone-Madonna-Larry Flynt of kiddie lit. After the title sentence, you'll recall, the first thing Margaret says to God is "Gretchen, my friend, got her period." For 1971, this was fairly scandalous stuff, and Blume knew it.

But as the Publishers Weekly children's book editor recently told The Washington Post, "When [Judy Blume] came along, the things she was writing about were new and very fresh - the real concerns of pre-adolescent girls. [Now, nearly 30 years later,] it's not a new or revolutionary concept. Others have gone on to capture the affections of young readers."

Kind of makes you wonder what books her publisher hasn't let her publish, no?

Next ... Rejection Letters to Judy Blume

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