Monday, September 25, 2023
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Guest Column: Judy Blume is always there

First time watching Judy Blume Forever, looking forward to the Sundance Film Festival premiere, I have my period up. Now, as a – year-old woman, which was not entirely unexpected to me. However, my body’s slightly token reaction to the documentary directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok blew me away. Judy Blume is the queen of menstruation discussions. It felt like my womb was almost respecting her.

I mention this partly because I feel like that’s what Judy wants me to do. Judy Blume Forever, released on Prime Video, is both a biography of Blume and a tribute to her Forever The power of speaking the truth. Bloom’s refusal to shy away from topics like menstruation, masturbation, and nascent sex made her both an icon and a target. Watching her story makes you want to be a little braver and a little more honest.

This year has been a boon for Blume. This documentary comes out a week before Lionsgate God, are you there? This is me Margaret , Bloom Landmark 1970 First film adaptation of the novel. At the age of , Blume is Reminding us of her own story, meanwhile, one of her most beloved stories is coming to the big screen.

The timing was both coincidental and perfect. Book bans are rising at an alarming rate across the United States. PEN America recorded 1, 20 individual books in July to Banned during December 2021. Blume’s Forever…, her 1402 novel , Nuanced According to PEN America, school districts in Utah, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania have banned or are banning girls’ first sexual experiences.

As Pardo and Wolchok in their movie, we’ve been here before. After President Ronald Reagan took office It’s Blume et al. In the doc, Blume recounts being scolded by Pat Buchanan when she appeared in an episode of Crossfire. Fed up with his nasty questions, she finally confronted him and said, “Did you hang up masturbating?” Blume also discussed 30 because she supports family planning. These events happened to Blume some forty years ago, but she speaks of them jerkily as if they happened yesterday—in fact, they probably happened to some writer somewhere.

But the beauty of Judy Blume Forever is that it’s not just good at reminding viewers how self righteous conservatives can be, time and time again , attacking freedom of expression in the name of protecting children. What it actually does best is demonstrate how valuable Bloom’s books are through the people who mean the most to them. The strongest condemnation of the examiner comes when Blume sorts through the flood of letters she has received from young people over the years, which are now deposited with her other papers at Yale.

Judy Blume in Prime Video’s doc special Judy Blume Forever, which looks at her life and legacy as a cherished author of children’s and young adult books.

Judy Bloom Judy Bloom Forever in the Prime Video Docs special, which looks back at her as a revered The life and legacy of an author of books for children and young adults. Supplied by Prime Video01324818

For these young men and women, Bloom’s books reflect the chaos of their lives in ways that other adults dare not admit. Blume takes their fan letters seriously and writes back to her readers. As a voice for countless children she’s never met, she doesn’t take the challenge lightly, and she even admits it got her into therapy.

Pardo and Wolchok have two devotees whose ties to Blume extend beyond the scope of the page. Blume attended the college graduation of Lorrie Kim, who had written to her since she was 9 years old. She also counseled and comforted Karen Chilstrom, who was reading the author’s book Tiger Eyes. “Growing up, no one allowed me to tell my story,” Chistrom said in an interview for the film. “She saw a wounded person who didn’t give up on me.” On screen, these interactions are a testament not only to Blume’s enormous heart, but also to the way her words provide the lessons and comfort that only great literature can provide.

Blume takes the issues of children and young people seriously, another reason why talking about her work now seems crucial. Yes, it’s a grim reality that lawmakers and parents in this country want to remove these texts from their shelves, but there’s another, more optimistic corps following in Blume’s footsteps.

You can see this in the way the director chooses to highlight who is the talking head. By including PEN05 creator and star Anna Konkle and Catherine Called Birdy director Lena Dunham – artists passionate about delivering The characters come to explore the uncomfortable realities of young people messy and weird — and you can see how Blume’s legacy thrives in today’s pop culture. The film adaptation of Are You There, God? , directed by Kelly Fremont Craig, is now part of that stew, and is uncertain about the inclusion of Margaret Excellent on-screen translation of sexual text.

Are You There, God? Sadly, the box office hasn’t caught on, which worries me that, in the future, Studios will be more cautious when investing in projects of a similar nature. But Judy Bloom Forever is a powerful reminder of the inestimable value of these stories about the ugly and sometimes under-discussed realities of bodies, growth and development.

So, yes, Judy Blume Forever made me period. Judy Blume made me want to tell you this.

This story first appeared in the May independent issue of The Hollywood Reporter Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe .



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