Judy Blume (blewm), born Judy Sussman, ranks among the most popular and acclaimed writers of juvenile and young adult fiction. With the novels Wifey and Summer Sisters, she has also made significant inroads into the adult fiction market. Her works have sold in excess of forty million copies worldwide, indicating an appeal and influence that expands far beyond the parameters of “children’s” writing. However, much of Blume’s notoriety has been fueled by the controversy her books often generate. Relative to her contemporaries, Blume is often outspokenly frank, particularly about the issues and dilemmas surrounding adolescent sexual identity. Likewise, her books are often unapologetic and free of the judgmental and moralistic trappings that typically characterize juvenile fiction—something her fans laud as courageous and innovative but her detractors condemn as amoral. Whereas many children’s writers focus on the consequences of sexual behavior among young people, Blume’s fiction tends instead to focus directly on the experience of such behavior. What may be gained or lost along an adolescent’s path to physical or sexual maturity is usually left to the reader.
Blume grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Miami Beach, Florida, the daughter of middle-class parents who instilled a love of books in her at an early age. After graduating from New York University, Blume married and gave birth to two children for whom she began writing stories as amusement. Throughout the 1960’s, however, her skills and interest in writing developed. Her first children’s book,...
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