Judy Blume

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Judy Blume
Blume smiling while signing a book
Blume at a book signing in 2010
Born Judith Sussman
(1938-02-12) February 12, 1938 (age 76)
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Writer, teacher
Nationality American
Period 1969–2013
Genres Realist young adult novels, children's books
Notable work(s)
Notable award(s) Margaret Edwards Award
1996
Spouse(s)
  • John M. Blume (1959–1976; divorced; 2 children)
  • Thomas A. Kitchens (1976–1978; divorced)
  • George Cooper (1987–present)

www.judyblume.com

Judith "Judy" Blume (/blm/; née Sussman; February 12, 1938) is an American writer.[1] Her novels for children and young adults have exceeded sales of 80 million and have been translated into 31 languages.[2] Blume's novels for teenagers were among the first to tackle racism (Iggie's House), menstruation (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.), divorce (It's Not the End of the World, Just As Long As We're Together), bullying (Blubber), masturbation (Deenie; Then Again, Maybe I Won't) and teen sex (Forever). Blume has used these subjects to generate discussion, but they have also been the source of controversy regarding age-appropriate reading.[3] In 1996 she won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her contribution to writing for teens.[4]

The film version of Blume's 1981 novel Tiger Eyes, directed by the author's son Lawrence Blume, stars Willa Holland as Davey and Amy Jo Johnson as Gwen Wexler, and was released in 2012.[5]

Early life[edit]

Blume was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the daughter of homemaker Esther (née Rosenfeld) and dentist Ralph Sussman.[6] She has a brother, David, who is five years older. Her family was Jewish.[7] Blume has recalled, "I spent most of my childhood making up stories inside of my head." She graduated from Battin High School in 1956, then enrolled in Boston University. In the first semester, she was diagnosed with mononucleosis and took a brief leave from school[2] before graduating from New York University in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in Education.[8]

Career[edit]

A lifelong avid reader, Blume first began writing when her children were attending preschool,[9] and published her first book, The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo, in 1969. The decade that followed proved to be her most prolific, with 13 more books being published, including many of her most well-known titles, such as Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (1970), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (1972), and Blubber (1974).[10]

After publishing novels for young children and teens, Blume tackled another genre—adult reality and death. Her novels Wifey (1978) and Smart Women (1983) shot to the top of The New York Times best-seller list. Wifey has become a bestseller, with over 4 million copies sold to date. Her latest and third adult novel Summer Sisters (1998) was widely praised and has sold more than 3 million copies.[11] It spent 5 months on The New York Times Bestseller list,[12] with the hardcover reaching #3[13] and the paperback spent several weeks at #1.[14][15] Several of Blume's books appear on the list of top all-time bestselling children's books.[citation needed]

Judy Blume has won more than 90 literary awards, including three lifetime achievement awards in the U.S. The ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature". Blume won the annual award in 1996 citing the single book Forever, published in 1975. According to the citation, "She broke new ground in her frank portrayal of Michael and Katherine, high school seniors who are in love for the first time. Their love and sexuality are described in an open, realistic manner and with great compassion."[4] In April 2000 the Library of Congress named her to its Living Legends in the Writers and Artists category for her significant contributions to America's cultural heritage.[citation needed] In 2004 she received the annual Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Medal of the National Book Foundation as someone who "has enriched [American] literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work."[16][17]

Marriages and family[edit]

On August 15, 1959, in the summer of her freshman year of college, she married John M. Blume, whom she had met while a student at New York University. He became a lawyer, while she was a homemaker before supporting her family by teaching and writing.[18] They had two children: Randy Lee, an airline pilot (born 1961); and Lawrence Andrew, a filmmaker (born 1963). The couple separated in 1975 and were legally divorced by 1976.[19] Blume would later describe the marriage as "suffocating", although she maintained her first husband's surname.[20][21]

Shortly after her separation, she met Thomas A. Kitchens, a physicist. The couple married in 1976, and Kitchens moved them to New Mexico for his work. They divorced in 1978. She later spoke about their split: "It was a disaster, a total disaster. After a couple years, I got out. I cried every day. Anyone who thinks my life is cupcakes is all wrong."[20]

A mutual friend introduced her to George Cooper, a former law professor, now non-fiction writer. Blume and Cooper were married in 1987.[22] Cooper has one daughter, Amanda, from a previous marriage. They currently reside in Key West.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Blume announced she was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2012 after undergoing a routine ultrasound as she was preparing to leave for a five-week trip to Italy. She stated that she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer 17 years earlier, and had a subsequent hysterectomy.[24]

Works[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Judy Blume". Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
  2. ^ a b Blume, "Judy's Official Bio".
  3. ^ "Top Ten Challenged Authors 1990–2004". American Library Association (ALA). Archived from the original on 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  4. ^ a b "1996 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). ALA.
      "Edwards Award". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
  5. ^ Vilkomerson, Sara (February 24, 2012). "Judy Blume's 'Tiger Eyes' movie". Entertainment Weekly. 
  6. ^ Flood, Alison (October 16, 2009). "God bless Judy Blume". Books Blog. The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  7. ^ Gottlieb, Amy. "JUDY BLUME b. 1938". Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. Jewish Women's Archive (jwa.org). Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Blume "How I Became an Author".
  10. ^ "Paperback". The Best-Selling Children's Book of All-Time. Infoplease.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15.  Through 2000. Reprinted from Publisher's Weekly, copyright 2002.
  11. ^ Flora, Carlin (January 1, 2007). "Judy Blume: Mating IQ". Psychology Today.
  12. ^ Lopez, Kathryn Jean (September 30, 2000). "Early Blumers: In defense of censorship". National Review Online Weekend. National Review (nationalreview.org).
  13. ^ Best Sellers: August 16, 1998. The New York Times
  14. ^ Paperback Best Sellers: May 30, 1999. The New York Times.
  15. ^ Paperback Best Sellers: June 12, 1999. The New York Times.
  16. ^ "Distinguished Contribution to American Letters". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  17. ^ Wyatt, Edward (September 15, 2004). "Literary Prize for Judy Blume, Confidante to Teenagers". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Tracy, Kathleen (2007). Judy Blume: A Biography. New York City: Greenwood. p. 152. ISBN 0313342725. 
  19. ^ "Judy Blume". NNDB. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  20. ^ a b Green, Michelle (March 19, 1984). "After Two Divorces, Judy Blume Blossoms as An Unmarried Woman—and Hits the Best-Seller List Again". People. Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  21. ^ Blume, "Smart Women". June 30, 2004.
  22. ^ Richards, Linda L. (2008). "Judy Blume: On censorship, life, and staying in the spotlight for 25 years". January Magazine. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  23. ^ Whitworth, Melissa (February 8, 2008). "Judy Blume's lessons in love". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  24. ^ Kindelan, Katie (September 5, 2012). "Judy Blume Shares Breast Cancer Diagnosis". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
Citations

Further reading[edit]

  • Judy Blume. (1999) Authors and Artists for Young Adults (Gale Research), 26: 7–17. Summarizes and extends 1990 article, with more emphasis on Blume's impact and censorship issues. By R. Garcia-Johnson.
  • Judy Blume. (1990) Authors and Artists for Young Adults (Gale Research), 3: 25–36. Incorporates extensive passages from published interviews with Blume.
  • Judy Blume's Story by Besty Lee

External links[edit]