For lovers of the television series of Judy Blume, it was an absolute delight to learn that she had become a best-selling author for her newest book, the New York Times bestseller Judy: A Memoir. With her first book, The Kite Runner, she established herself as one of the most popular and gifted writers in the world.
The New York Times Book Review referred to it as "a watershed book" that helped set the tone for many novels written by female authors. The novel tells the story of Judy, who was a long-suffering, tenacious homemaker who could never seem to keep her husband happy.
When interviewed by the BBC, I had the opportunity to interview Judy and asked her about the kind of advice she gave her husband to get him out of the marriage and remain on the right path. She responded that there were several things he could do that would put him back on track and allow him to spend time with his wife. The biggest help Judy had for him, she said, was to find out how she wanted to spend her life. When married, Judy realized she had changed.
Many of her characters, including Mabel Manhattan, her daughter, Elizabeth, and their friends are based on real people. In addition, while Judy tries to capture the joys and sorrows of her life as a home-maker with a houseful of children, she has no children herself, but did have one of her best friends who unfortunately passed away when she was only twenty-four.
As a writer, she felt that she could be better and her novel showcases that. When asked by me how she developed this way of writing, she responded, "I learned so much about my character, what made her tick and what I could do differently to make her truly human. I believe I also learned how to be more objective and honest."
Like any novel, her heroine became more like her friends as she went through the story. After all, they too were living in the New York of their time and it was important to her that she lived up to her expectations. As she was about to tell me, she feels like she now feels part of the family.
Some of the book's best scenes feature her conversations with Mabel, who is probably one of the best characters in the movie. As she tells Judy about her sister Nellie, she adds more insight into her character and becomes more honest. Some of the other scenes that had me clapping, laughing, and nodding in admiration included a conversation with Clarence, a young girl from the Bronx who played with her in the pool, and her encounter with her neighbor Toni, whom she calls her "walking friend."
The movie of Judy inspired some of her book's best scenes. If you have not seen the movie yet, please consider watching it before reading this review.