Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Summer reading

I recently bought a book at Half Price Books.
I bought it despite knowing that I have a good stack of books to read and the I didn't need to add any more books to the "To be Read Pile".
The book was Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume edited by Jennifer O'Connell. It is a collection of essays by YA and Chic Lit authors about their experiences with Judy Blume books.
Since my childhood summers were all about reading Judy Blume books a book about Judy Blume books seemed like the perfect summer read.
I have to recommend this book to any Judy Blume fan. Readers who grew up reading her books can relate to the essays in the book. The lessons learned from characters are sort of universal and touched a lot of kids lives. The book included essays written by Meg Cabot and Megan McCafferty.
There are a couple essays about the book Forever by Judy Blume. When I was reading them I was stuck with how people reacted to this book. They often kept it hidden or it was passed around groups of friends in secret.
I think I read every Judy Blume book I could get my hands on from the time I was in third grade through high school. I read Forever sometime in my middle school years but I don't remember being worried my mom would discover me reading it. I didn't leave it at school or hide it under my mattress. I remember reading it out in the open like I would have any book. Although I probably did blush at the sex parts I don't remember thinking I shouldn't be reading that book.
My mom became more conservative when she got remarried but she still didn't freak out about what I read except the time I tried to get a subscription to Cosmo. She even defended me when her friends from church thought I was being rebellious by dying my hair. She said it was just hair. She didn't censor my music either.
She figured if a book came from the YA section of the library that it was OK for me to read. I think she thought if I was reading there were a lot of other things I wasn't doing. Maybe she knew that books had a lot of the answers I needed when I was growing up.
I remember when I wanted to read some of her Danielle Steele books she helped me pick the ones she thought I would like the best.
A few years ago my sister who is uber religious was talking about a certain book and how she didn't think that parents at her church should let kids read the book. My sister claimed the book would teach kids witchcraft. My mom jumped to the defense of the book, not that she had ever read it. She said it was more important for kids to read and if the book could get that many kids excited about reading she didn't think it was bad for them.
Whenever I think about growing up one of the things I feel lucky about is that my mom never censored my reading or music. I probably didn't think I had a cool mom growing up but now that I'm a grown up I'm glad I had a mom who was cool enough to let me read what I wanted to read.

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