Judy Sussman was born February 12, 1938, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Jewish parents: Esther, a quiet, book-savvy housewife, and Rudolph, a dentist. Much of Blume’s fiction finds itself rooted in this family, particularly her father, who provided the model for many of his fictional counterparts in his strong joviality and support for his daughter’s imagination.
As in many of her novels, though, physical distance between father and daughter proved to be problematic. In one instance, the family was forced to move to Florida for two years out of health concerns for Judy’s older brother, David; her father remained in New Jersey, working to support them. Both siblings would experience severe illness in their youth. Her father’s death in 1959 at the relatively young age of fifty-four, coupled with the death of two of his brothers in their forties, would haunt Blume’s prose with a preoccupation with parental separation, mortality, and isolation.
Blume attended New York University (NYU), after mononucleosis arrested her start at Boston University during her first year there. She graduated with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education in 1960, which she never utilized, as she wished to stay at home with her children. In fact, she attributed much of her impetus to be an educator to her mother’s pragmatism that she have a career in the event that marriage did not work out for her. Esther Sussman’s anxieties were quite prescient.
Judy Sussman became Judy Blume when she married John Blume, a lawyer, in 1959, during her junior year in college. Blume has stated that their sixteen-year marriage constituted a period during which she was expected to fulfill the role of a domestic homemaker: raising children, Randy Lee in 1961 and Larry in 1963, and attending to...
(The entire section is 732 words.)