Guest Post: Judy Blume Project

March 22, 2013

Hi, Readers! Meet Amy. Amy’s been a longtime bloggy friend of mine and she’s wonderful. Although Amy’s currently on blogging hiatus, she was so inspired by the Judy Blume Project that she couldn’t wait to sit down and write.

I know you’ll love her as much as I do. So happy to have you here today, sweet Gibs!

I Must, I Must, I Must…what?



My mother, horrid as she is, won’t let me read Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret. OK, she wasn’t horrid, she isn’t horrid, but this is a horrid thing to do to a girl who has no idea what this whole thing called puberty is all about. So I did the only thing I could do. I read it without her knowing.


Which is how I ended up in my bathroom, with the door locked, sitting on the pink shag carpet, my hands together, pulsing in and up, chanting,


I must, I must, I must increase my bust.


Praying to God that my annoying little brother wouldn’t bust in.


(Bust. Get it? Even my sentence has a bust.)


I looked down. Nothing. The mosquito bites I had weren’t even big enough to be called breast buds, that embarrassing scientific term used in all the science books one could find (if looking hard) in the library.


Keep going.


I must, I must, I must increase my bust.


Everyone, well, every girl in my class at least, has boobs. And they have all read that book. Which means—I blame my mother for my flat chest. I mean, what is so bad about that book anyhow? What didn’t my mom want me to know?


That I might get boobs?


Was she worried I would get my period? I’m going to get it anyhow, right?


Was she worried I might convert to Judaism? Doubtful. I attend a Catholic parochial school, wearing the ugliest brown and yellow uniform a girl could imagine. Who there is going to turn me into a Jew? And like that’s a bad thing anyhow?


What was it?? What was it about that book she didn’t want me to read??


Fast-forward thirty years. I’m sitting in the bathroom, chanting,


I must, I must, I must decrease my bust.


Praying my little one doesn’t bust in as I’m changing my tampon.


And dammit, why did I have to get my period today of all days? I’m meeting my best friend (who happens to be Jewish) for lunch and who wants to be bloated for that??


My mother-in-law gave my daughter a stack of Judy Blume books to read. Oh, the memories! It’s like seeing an old friend I hadn’t seen in ages! Judy!


And there it was. The book with the purple cover and the awkward girl wearing that ugly dress.  No. Not that one. She’s not ready for that.


I took it off the pile.


But Mom!!


Not this one, Poonch, not yet.


But why?


Because I am not ready. I am not ready for her to understand what is coming her way. I am not ready for her to not be a child. I am not ready for her to become awkward. I am not ready for her to be unhappy with her body. Wishing it was something else. Being afraid of what will become of it. That general insecurity that will ensue for the next ten years. No, the next forever years.


I am not ready for my girl, to be a girl.


Because being a girl is hard. Sometimes it sucks. Mentally, physically. Actually, a lot of the time it sucks.


But there is no going back. Why the Lord didn’t bless me with sons, I’ll never know.


I didn’t let her read the book. That’s right, I didn’t let her read the book, even though it did help me, all those years ago.




I did put it where she could find it. Just in case.




The author, a recovering pubescent girl, lives in Chicagoland with her two daughters who haven’t quite grasped how clueless their mother is, and her husband, an understanding guy who really has no idea what is coming down the female-laced road in the next few years.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Katybeth March 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Poignant post. Nothing wrong with letting her discover the book on her own. When the girl is ready the teacher will come. I guess.


Jamie March 22, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Love that you put it in a find-able spot. And if you’re worried about AYTGIIM, you better hope your gal never finds herself a copy of Forever ;)


Kim Jorgensen Gane March 22, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Really terrific, Gibby! Thanks so much for coming off hiatus to send Judy some love! She deserves every bit of it!


Barbara March 24, 2013 at 6:22 am

Nobody explained anything to me. Well…the kids at school.
We looked at the photos in National Geographics. :)


Jennifer March 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm

LOVE that she put it where her daughter could find it. I think they are so much more ready to grow up than we are to let them.


Velva March 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Awesome! Are you There God, it’s Me Margaret was literally my favorite pre-teen book. I absorbed that book like a sponge. I remember the school library could not keep the book checked-in-



CK March 26, 2013 at 4:41 am

Gibby!!! I almost teared up when I realized this post was by you. It’s funny you didn’t let her read the book because even though I’ve been reading my girls the Fudge books, I had to take the second one away half-way through because my younger daughter still believes in Santa and the Fudge books talks about how he’s fake. (Thank GOD someone else told me that…I had no idea.) But I’ve also been reading the Blume books I didn’t as a kid and it’s a strange feeling to experience them as a mom. I can only imagine what our moms must have thought of them!


Gibby March 27, 2013 at 6:01 am

Thanks, everyone! And thank you, TKW, for coming up with this great idea. Because of this project, I have been re-reading Judy Blume books, what a gift!


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