Censorship & Judy Blume


Many girls grew up with

Judy Blume books teaching
them about subjects that often,
no one else felt comfortable
talking about.




excerpt of article by Lizzie Skurnick

read the entire article at

       "If only Judy Blume had written a book about a tall  
        Jewish girl who had crushes on other girls."

Thus did emcee comedian and gay author Judy Gold kick off the recent National Coalition Against Censorship's 35th anniversary gala last month at the City Winery in New York City, which feted as its honoree Judy Blume, an author whose name is synonymous with teen angst over menstruation, masturbation and copulation.

Blume is one of those authors who generate a fission-like level of possessiveness in her readers, who universally see their own stories in hers (see above), despite the fact that Blume's stories themselves are wonderfully specific. (My favorites, to give you an idea of their ability to transcend mundane details like age, station or gender, are "Wifey," in which a dissatisfied housewife winds up sleeping with her brother-in-law, and "Then Again, Maybe I Won't," in which the entire plot revolves around the fact that a young boy moves from Jersey City to Long Island and begins to get erections.)

So . . . how does one honor a writer who everyone already feels is telling his or her own story? For this event -- A Night of Comedy With Judy Blume & Friends -- an array of performers stepped up and gave their best Rorschachs. Whoopie Goldberg, via satellite, exhorted her studio audience to applaud. (They obliged.) Blogger and comedian Lizz Winstead told the story of her high school abortion. A Yale freshman who normally performs naked donned a sedate peasant shirt and dirndl to sing about censorship. Another gave a reading from "My Little Red Book," a collection of first-period stories from everywhere, involving a girl mistaking a tampon for a hot dog. (At the close of this, a man's voice rose in querulous hiss: "But what does this have to do with Judy?" His wife paused and hazarded, "It's her book.")

To drive home the point, each performance was bracketed by clips of Judy Blume mentions in popular culture --cue "Lost's" Sawyer, squinting at a Blume favorite through taped-together specs -- as well as video testimonials from Mary Louise Parker, Joan Rivers, and Chelsea Handler, author of "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea," whose title echoes that of Blume's seminal 1970 classic, "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret."