Discussion Topics (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
How does Judy Blume’s biography supplement a reading of her greater themes in children’s fiction?
How does humor operate within Blume’s works?
Blume’s works often portray girls making the transition into puberty. What is it about this period in someone’s life that offers such a wealth of material?
What is the purpose of Blume’s narrators addressing their readers directly, almost as if within a conversation with them?
The anxieties encountered by young adults are ubiquitous within Blume’s fiction: Religion, biology, relationships, generational conflict, marriage, divorce, and separation are all grist for her mill. How does such controversial subject matter aid the plots of her stories?
Most of Blume’s narratives are left without conclusive resolution. What is gained by withholding closure from the reader?
What is “God’s” function to a girl struggling to discover her own religion in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret?
Bibliography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
“Judy (Sussman Kitchens) Blume.” In Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Jean C. Stine and Daniel G. Markowski. Vol. 30. Detroit: Gale, 1984. Concisely summarizes some of the major critical reviews of Blume’s fiction through the mid-1980’s. Contains critical insights from David Rees, Robert Lipsyte, and other noted critics.
Maynard, Joyce. “Coming of Age with Judy Blume.” The New York Times Magazine, December 3, 1978, 228-286. A candid and revealing interview, the article insightfully explores the controversies surrounding Blume’s Forever and the motivations behind her move into adult fiction.
Naylor, Alice Phoebe, and Carol Wintercorn. “Judy Blume.” In American Writers for Children, edited by Glenn E. Estes. Vol. 52 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1986. Contains a brief but detailed overview of Blume’s life and work. Contains a bibliography and an insightful analysis of her major works.
O’Connell, Jennifer, ed. Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume. New York: Pocket Books, 2007. This collection of twenty-four essays by women writers celebrates Judy Blume and her impact on young adult fiction. The authors reminisce about how reading Judy Blume helped them cope with body changes and relationships during adolescence.