Are Judy Blume books still relevant to today’s teens?

In an age of sex-texting and seemingly random sex among some teens, are Judy Blume’s books still relevant? Do they still reflect the teenage experience and what adolescents can expect in their middle and high school years? Are there still lessons to learn from these books written almost four decades ago?

For my generation growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, Blume’s books were the guideposts. They gave great insight about how to handle your first spin-the-bottle game, start your period or buy your first bra.  I read almost all of Judy Blume’s books between elementary and middle school. Scenes and lines from the books are still vivid to me. I even remember the brand of maxi pads Margaret buys in “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” (Teenage Softies.)

My husband recently brought me home a book of essays written by women authors who had also grown up reading Blume books. In the book, “Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume,” the women discuss how Blume influenced their perceptions of their bodies, boyfriends and friendships.

Which Judy Blume book was your favorite?

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One of the essay authors was speaking to a high school class and asked the girls if they were reading Judy Blume. Almost all said “No,” which made me start wondering if the books were so out of date the kids couldn’t even relate to them anymore.

So I spent about two weeks re-reading many of the most popular Blume books specifically looking for how these books could relate to today’s world and teens. (I was encouraged when several of the books I needed had a wait list at my local library. I suspect that maybe those high school girls weren’t reading Blume but the middle school girls were. ) Here are my observations on Blume’s relevance today:

“Blubber” – These were the original “Mean Girls.” Blume didn’t have a name for it then but Wendy is the Queen Bee and Jill and Tracy were drones following along. I remember the main character Jill as being sympathetic, but she’s not at all. She’s just mean. I think Jill’s class would be arrested today for physically assaulting Blubber in the bathroom, and the school would be sued.  As a parent I would be aghast if my child ever did anything like these girls did to another student. Although the forms of hazing and abuse have changed among teens (think email, texts and MySpace), I think the book could still help middle school students learn how deal with being bullied.

“Deenie” - I remember this book being entirely about masturbation. Oddly as I re-read it, I think I only counted two or three references to it in the entire book. Her main point on the masturbation is that it is normal and OK. I suspect teens still worry about masturbation today. Blume knows she’s a little bit dated on the Scoliosis info and has an editor’s note at the beginning of the new editions directing readers to a Web site for more information. I think the other big point in this book is teaching teens to feel good about themselves even if they have to wear a back brace, have pimples, have a small chest, etc.. Learning to love yourself is especially relevant in today’s society where low self esteems seems so rampant among our young women.

“Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret” – Probably my favorite among all the Blume books, I think this one still really rings true. The settings don’t seem dated, and I think girls are still extremely concerned about their breasts developing and starting their periods.  I’m wondering if this text was actually updated because I swear I remember them using a belt for the maxi pad and not sticky strips like are used today. (Wikipedia says they did update in 2006.) I think fourth and fifth graders would still find this book relevant. (This was one with a wait list at our local library so somebody is reading it.)

“Then Again, Maybe I won’t” – This was the boy book in the group. You may not have read it unless you had a brother. The boy’s father hits it big with an invention and this working-class, nice Italian family moves to a big house with a maid. The boy is obsessed with his neighbor’s sister and watches her undress at night. The big teen theme in this book is dealing with nocturnal emissions, which I’m sure both genders are still curious about.

However, I think one of the smaller themes in this book is actually more relevant today. The book examines how privilege can mess up kids’ values. The working-class boy is stunned by how unappreciative and lazy these affluent kids are. This book might be an eye-opener to some of our teens today.

“Forever” - The Biggie!!  I did not read “Forever” – the infamous book where the teens actually do it – as a teen.  I remember being offered the book in the locker room of my middle school. I was curious but was way too chicken to borrow it and take it home. I was certain my mother would know what the book was about as soon as she saw the title. I apparently gave my mother more credit than she deserved. She told me recently she didn’t even know “Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret” was about getting your period.” (Quote from my mother: “I wondered why you never asked me any questions about periods.”)

For those of you who were certain that your mom would find out too and never read it, here is the gist of the plot: Senior high school girl meets senior high school boy at a FONDUE party. (OK that part is dated.) They fall madly in love and eventually after several months go all the way. The girl’s grandmother sends her literature about getting on birth control, and she goes to a Planned Parenthood clinic to go on the Pill. (Blume has a note to readers in the front of the book that with the advent of AIDS, condoms would be a better choice.)

The Equal Rights Amendment grandmother is a little dated and the fact the couple can get legally drunk at 18 will also seem odd to today’s teens.

At the time, this book was so scandalous because they had sex, but, hey, at least they thought they were in love. At least they were in a relationship. This reads more like a college relationship now. High school kids seem to have sex so randomly now. Maybe the book would help a teen realize that if they’re going to do it (which I’m definitely not saying they should), they should at least think they are in love and not just do it because they are bored or because they have low self esteem and are seeking acceptance.

I think this book would help teen girls understand why they are feeling so strongly about a boy and that those feelings might change even if they don’t think they ever will. I think this book would help explain a lot to young women about the sex act and the emotional responsibilities it brings, but it’s so real I hate to believe they would need that knowledge in high school. (But I guess some do.)

What do you remember about the Judy Blume books? Did you read “Forever” as a teen? Did your teens read them? Did they relate? Do you think they are still relevant today? Do kids just start reading them younger in our jaded world?

63 comments Add your comment

nurse&mother

April 19th, 2009
9:12 pm

Oh my gosh, I LOVED Judy Blume!! She was a great author, wasn’t she!?!

My daughter has read some other books like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and a few others that were suited for elementary school age. She is in the sixth grade now. I’m not aware that she has read the books mentioned above. I think Are You There God it’s Me Margaret is appropriate for her if she is interested.

I felt so sorry for the character in Blubber. That book seemed very intense to me. Although it was a very good book. Heck, ALL Judy Blume books were great in my eyes!

Jesse's Girl

April 19th, 2009
10:25 pm

Our oldest has read EVERY SINGLE BOOK!!!! Some of them we had to search out on Ebay and the like. But she can’t put them down…and she’s 12!! I remember reading them too…..those and all the Nancy Drew books!! The themes are pretty universal.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 19th, 2009
11:16 pm

JG – Do you think she interprets the books the way you did? Did she ever ask questions or comment about things seeming old fashioned or not making sense to her?

DL

April 19th, 2009
11:34 pm

Forever was certainly passed around our school in the 70s……very eye opening to many of us……

DB

April 20th, 2009
1:03 am

I loved “Forever”, one of my favorite books from my teen years. Later, when I had some real life experience to compare it to, I was struck at how real it was describing the “first time” — awkward, sincere, and a little bemused. I re-read it a few years ago, and was still charmed by the innocence and passion of that first “real” love, and the confusion when she meets someone else that stirs the same deep emotions.

My daughter read it a few years ago, and while she rolled her eyes at the sex part (she was young enough to declare it was “gross”), we did have an interesting discussion on how the girl’s feelings changed, even though she thought her feelings were “forever”, which has led to some interesting discussions as she has grown older over the difference between “love” and good ol’ fashioned “lust”.

motherjanegoose

April 20th, 2009
6:57 am

I never read these, so I have no idea! I do not want to hijack the blog but I came home on the airport parking shuttle last night and no one was tipping. I asked the lady driver and she told me that tips are WAY down and she knows someone who who waits tables at the airport and on a $2000 night ( for her) she earned less than $100 in tips. WOW. Please do not be cheap…these folks need their income too! If you cannot afford to tip, eat fast food. Have fun with this topic….imagine it, I have no comment!

FCM

April 20th, 2009
7:08 am

I thought FOREVER had the teen who has sex with her teacher….which book was that? Which ever it was, that portion still relates…at least if the ajc is to be believe. (sigh) I did read it years ago.

My mother read each Blume book first.

My oldest read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, SuperFudge, and Otherwise Know as Sheila the Great. These books had had some minor updates (CD player) but otherwise opened some very good discussions in our house.

I found my copy of Blubber the other day in a box, so I pulled it out for same child to read this summer. I re-read it and still find it mainstreaming issues. I also found my copy of Dennie but did not think we were ready for that one yet. (First time I read it I missed the masturbation thing—I remember the Mom/Daughter relationship being awful).

I have not seen Starring Sally J Freeman…as Herself on the shelves lately, but will look for that one soon. I recall that one being good.

Yes, I think that the books are relative. However, I think that reading them in HS is too late. For my child they are on target right now. I will get Are You There God? this summer, to ease into the next step of our discussions on growing up.

PHR

April 20th, 2009
8:06 am

I am a huge fan of Judy Blume. I read all of her books when I was younger. My niece is 11 and in 6th grade and I thought she might be interested in reading those books. When I brought it up that I still have them and she could have them her mother wasn’t so sure that they were age appropropriate. What? They were a staple in my library in ther pre-teen and early teen years. I probably read AYTGIMM at least 10 times.

Becky

April 20th, 2009
8:33 am

I have never read any of her books..I was always more into the mystery/murder books..I do have a question though for those that have read them, is 17 & 15 to old for these books to be read? Thanks for your input..

HB

April 20th, 2009
8:38 am

I loved Judy Blume, but I have to admit, I’m surprised kids are still reading them, since setting-wise (not-so-much topic wise) some of te books felt very dated to me when I read them in the late-80s. I’m glad their still around.

Re: tipping. My server friends here in DC are suffering, but say it’s not because customers aren’t tipping, they’re just tipping less. People who tipped 20-25% are tipping closer to the traditional 15-20% — a fair amount on the customer’s part, but a 20-25% hit for the server. And as much as my friends are disappointed by the cut, they’re happy those people are still coming in at all because business overall is down. Also, customers are ordering less expensive entrees and fewer extras, so there’s a smaller total to tip on. So it’s not really people being cheap toward their servers, but rather just another sign of the economic times. I suspect airport servers are the exception here because there’s less of a shame factor. They’re more likely to get stiffed by travelers who think they’ll never eat there again than servers in neighborhood restaurants.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 20th, 2009
8:42 am

Hey Becky — I think at those ages your girls will already know a lot of the information in the books — ie developing breasts, starting your period. But they are still good stories just on their own merit!! And the books might answer a question your daughters hadn’t thought to ask or were too embarrassed to ask. I don’t know the on the “Forever” book. You should definitely read that one first to see if you think it’s appropriate for your girls — it’s pretty intense and realistic!!! They would definitely be exposed to a lot of detailed information about sex in that one. I don’t think there’s any harm in offering them (all but Forever without your preview). At that age, they will probably read them fast and enjoy them — might get some useful lessons from them still.

JJ

April 20th, 2009
8:45 am

I have not cut back on my tipping, but I will NOT leave a nice tip for bad service. I am a generous tipper, as I have waited tables in the past, and I know how they count on that money. I tip the pizza delivery (Athena’s ONLY, definately NOT Pizza Hut or those other pizza places, I don’t order from them) and chinese delivery $5.00 each time. They are doing me a favor by bringing me my food, so I will pay for that. And they know me now….I get great service from these two establishments…….

Unfortunately, we had a bad server at a mexican restaurant in Cumming yesterday. Our bill was $19.00 and I only left him $2.00. We ran out of chips, and had 1/2 a bowl of cheese dip left. He brought our food, and we never saw him again……..ran out of water too……

JJ

April 20th, 2009
8:46 am

Sorry, on topic, I have never read a Judy Blume book in my life. I don’t they she was around when I was growing up. But my younger niece has read almost all her books……

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 20th, 2009
8:48 am

JJ — did she connect with them?? For my generation we all read them and adored them!! My babysitter hasn’t read any of them!! Blank stare when I asked her about them — What how can you not know about Are you There God? It’s Me Margaret??????

Becky

April 20th, 2009
8:58 am

Thanks Theresa!!

RJ

April 20th, 2009
9:12 am

I bought my 14 year old Forever a few months ago. She actually “read” it and loved it. She’s not an avid reader like I am. I felt it was very appropriate for a high schooler. I read almost all of her books when I was a kid. Now, the other series I read was V.C. Andrews Flowers in the Attic. That was huge in middle school. I don’t think I’ll suggest that one. But, it wouldn’t matter anyway because she’ll look at how thick it is and just decline lol!

Kathy

April 20th, 2009
9:13 am

I have read all the Blume books as well and I LOVED them! I just might go back and read them again just because I loved them so much.

While we are on the subject of books, does anyone remember the book The Pinballs? I think it was by Lois Lenski, but I could be wrong about that. That was one of my favorites. I also loved all the S.E. Hinton books (The Outsiders, Rumblefish), Roald Dahl, E.B. White….I could go on. I keep a book journal now and I wish I had done that when I was younger. I would love to see what all I read back in the day. I think I am going to encourage Little E to keep a book journal when she is a little older. She sees me write in my journal and asks me about it, so maybe it will stick!

Colleen

April 20th, 2009
9:18 am

My childhood was full of Judy Blume books from elementary on, and I was always amazed at how spot on she was with her characters. Which makes me think, her books are still relevant today b/cse they deal with universal issues every person has in their life. I can’t wait to introduce Fudge to my first grader, and hopefully she’ll let me read them to her as our student teacher did in 3rd grade. “Forever” was passed around in junior high, and we were all scandalized, but loved it :) “Are you there God” was and is still my favorite though…

Jesse's Girl

April 20th, 2009
9:20 am

I asked her this morning what her thougths were on the whole “old-fashionedness” of some of the books. She said the scene descriptions were that way a bit..but she just enjoys the plots and characters. Forever had a definite gross-out factor for her…..but she liked it. She has also read all Babysitters Club books. She has recently showed an interest in all of my Patricia Cornwell books. I adviced her to be very careful….they can be freaky. But she loves to read and it doesn’t seem to matter what it is.

Denise

April 20th, 2009
9:43 am

Loved “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” and was way too scared to bring “Forever” home, too. The girls in my school were talking about it having sex in it and I was terrified of “the talk” my mother would have given me about sex. I’m still horrified (at age 36) when my mother talks to me about sex…especially hers!

Back to the question – I’m going to encourage my cousin to see if her 12 year old would be interested in them. She already has boobs that would make a grown woman green with envy (or maybe that’s just me b/c I want more boobs! damn weight loss!!!). I’m sure she has had her period already too but maybe she’ll enjoy reading something that was so exciting to her mother as a child. My mother read Stephen King so I didn’t get that experience.

DB

April 20th, 2009
10:43 am

FCM – no, the main character definitely doesn’t have sex with her teacher. It’s with her boyfriend. There’s a long lead-up to the decision to have sex, and then some fumbling around trying to get just the “right” moment. I still chuckle when they decided to have sex on the floor instead of the very comfortable bed, because she’s afraid of bleeding on the bed! :-) So much furtiveness . . . I remember that Katherine getting the pill was such a huge deal, and remember thinking, “No WAY my grandmother would do that!”

It came out my senior year in high school, it really hit the high school hard. I just remember being so shocked that the main character, Katherine, fell out of love with her boyfriend, Michael, when she met a tennis pro at summer camp (a tennis pro? isn’t that a bit of a cliche’?!)

Anyone that wouldn’t allow their child to watch this probably doesn’t let them watch “Secret Life of the American Teenager” on ABC Family, either, or any of a couple of dozen other shows, or any movie over G.

Apparently, this book is one of the major reasons that the name “Ralph” is seldom used for kids these days — a whole generation grew up snickering at Michael’s pet name for his penis: Ralph!

Cammi317

April 20th, 2009
11:07 am

Definitely! My daughter started with the Fudge series and has progressed to the really good ones….

Chris Broe

April 20th, 2009
11:18 am

These books could teach the tea baggers to be nicer girls.

ashley

April 20th, 2009
11:30 am

I know I’m in the minority here, but I always liked “Starring Sally J. Freedman” better than the others. It was a well-written story that gave a lot of detail to the post-WW2 era.
“Blubber” scared me as a teen (that kids could be that mean).
I liked “Deenie”. I wonder as an adult if the kids would have treated Deenie the way they treated the bag lady, if she had the brace before they knew her.
I thought “Forever” was cheesy.
I didn’t like “Then Again.” I didn’t think writing from a boy’s point of view is one of Blume’s strong points.
I really liked “Tiger Eyes.” Another well-written story.
Now as an adult, I liked the adult books. I felt sorry for the husband in “Wifey.” Didn’t think there was much plot to “Smart Women” And I loved “Summer Sisters” but found it really dark. The girl Vix, just took from Caitlin’s family and Caitlin, even if she didn’t think that’s what she was doing. Didn’t like this character at all!

jct

April 20th, 2009
11:39 am

I loved Judy Blume books. Since I have a son, none have been read by him. A few weeks ago some old HS friends and I talked about about Judy Blume.

Are you there God, it’s me Margaret was my favorite – ‘we must, we must , we must increase our bust.’ Remember those silly boob exercises. My second favorite book was Forever.

I remember when Judy wrote her first adult book ‘Wifey’ we all took turns reading it. We were in 8th grade and we thought we were so adult. Luckily, none of us were caught with the book and the girl who ‘borrowed’ from her mother was never implicated.

I think her books are still relevant today. I hope that young girls will continue to read her material along with the newer series of books.

Mark

April 20th, 2009
12:35 pm

Ah, Judy Blume. All of the girls really started reading her books in 6th or 7th grade. It seemed like a progression.. you started with the novice ones like Superfudge and worked your way up to the (yep) “biggie”- Forever. Flowers in the Attic was a big hit as well (though not by JB). We boys never understood what the big deal about JB was until some of us read Then Again, Maybe I Won’t. We were too busy reading Hardy Boys/Tom Swift and taping KISS posters to our walls. I remember though that the girls that read JB were alot more levelheaded than those that didn’t.

CC

April 20th, 2009
12:51 pm

I loved Judy Blume’s books and I think Tiger Eyes was my favorite. Somehow I never read “Forever.” I finally read most of her adult books last summer and they were great. I still think that the topics are relevant, but today’s kids may find the books a little dated.

Cammi317

April 20th, 2009
1:35 pm

RJ – I read VC Andrews also, in my late teens and early twenties. It was like watching a train wreck, but I could not stop reading those books. Dysfunctional does not even begin to describe the families in her books. FYI, not only did me and my 3 younger sisters ready all of Judy Blume’s books, so did one of my younger brothers who is now 27. He loved those books and said he is going to let his son read them when he is a little older.

Clayton Resident

April 20th, 2009
1:38 pm

I loved ALL of Judy Blume’s books! Read them all cover to cover many many times.

5thGradeTeacher

April 20th, 2009
1:41 pm

Pinballs is by Betsy Byars… great book! I have two copies of AYTGIMM in my classroom, and not one girl has read it all year! I loved that book and recommend it every chance I get, but no success so far!

Jody

April 20th, 2009
1:43 pm

For some odd reason, I kept all my Judy Blume books and some others that I grew up reading in the 80s. I also really liked Paula Danziger, who wrote books like “There’s a Bat in Bunk 5″ and “The Divorce Express”. In spite of some of the descriptions being a little dated, I think most of the premises are still very relevant.

Heather

April 20th, 2009
1:44 pm

Judy Blume was and still is my favorite author. As a high school teacher, the themes in all of her books are still very prevalent to adolescents today.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 20th, 2009
2:19 pm

hey Ashley — I loved Sally J. Freedman — I was obsessed with Nazis and World Ware II after reading it. Blume says that book was somewhat autobiographical — hit that link I have at the top to her web site and she tells you her inspiration for each book. — very interesting to read where her ideas came from after so many years –

motherjanegoose

April 20th, 2009
2:28 pm

DB…the fact that Judy Blume came out during your senior year makes me feel better, as I thought we may be close to the same age and I do not remember anything at all about her when I was in middle school.

JJ…I was in Rhode Island once and ate at a Mexican Restaurant ( highly recommended). I placed my order and waited for the chips and salsa…none appeared. I asked the waitress and she said that those had to be ordered at $5.00 per basket…they were not complimentary. I was stunned. I have eaten in Mexican Restaurants all over the country and the chips were ALWAYs on the house!
Live and learn!

Kathy…I just read A Perfect Match and loved it…so I will be reading more!

FCM

April 20th, 2009
3:14 pm

OK…Now I remember Forever…I did read it back a century or more ago….There was a book though I remember where the girl babysat for the teacher’s son (he was 3? 5?) and the wife (Anna?) left the family….the teacher ends up with the student and later she gets pregnant. There is another girl (the students bff) that is going through the ’should I/shouldn’t I’ phase.

I am not sure how much all of these books contributed to my decision to ‘wait awhile’ (not til marriage I admit!)…

I read both Flowers in the Attic and Heaven series and one other I *think* I found them all to be pretty much the same story and moved on. Did the same thing to Grisham decades later…

I think that Blume’s books are still necessary to open the dialogue but perhaps at a younger age than we Mom’s got there.

I have been trying to get my daughter into the Little House series…It is a shame that those books which are classics, are not engaging her. I hate to think of her generation (or the ones that follow) not knowing Laura, Manly, Nellie, et al. I fear I will get a similar reaction to Little Women.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 20th, 2009
3:29 pm

FCM — You know what I couldn’t wait for her to read and she just wasn’t engaged at all were the Beverly Cleary books — I loved, loved, loved the Beverly Cleary books and they seem to move very slowly compared to the Magic Tree House adventure series, which Rose adores! Rose is interested in Little House so I think we’re going to try some of those out.

Kathy

April 20th, 2009
3:34 pm

MJG….you are going to be HOOKED on those Picoult books!! Let me know how you like the rest.

5thGradeTeacher…thanks for the the author for Pinballs. I loved Byars’ books also. Just couldn’t put the right author to the books!

Reader

April 20th, 2009
3:41 pm

I’m an elementary school librarian and I had a 3rd grade girl today ask for _Are you there…_. She said her mom had suggested it, but she ended up not getting it. I love them all, from _The pain and the great one_ right up to _Forever_! And I’ll concur that _Forever_ contributed a lot to me delaying sex.

Becky

April 20th, 2009
3:44 pm

FCM, I read all of the Little House books also..Loved them & years later I tried to get my nieces to read them, but they thought they were to boring..Like you said, most series (IMO) books usually wind up beig so close to the same that I stopped reading many of them..I read John Grishams first 4-5 books, then quit..The same with Lee Child..I love most all of his books, it’s just that he only has one main character in every book..

motherjanegoose

April 20th, 2009
4:19 pm

I LOVED the Beverly Clearly books but never read the Little House series. Both of my sisters read those and we have my sister’s set here that my daughter was never interested in. To each his own and this is why there are many different kinds of authors….as there are many different kinds of readers! I have read nearly all of John Grisham’s books and do like most of them.

Penguinmom

April 20th, 2009
4:36 pm

I don’t remember reading any of these. I knew they were out there, just was never interested. I was much more into sci-fi and fantasy books (read tolkein’s LOTR in 6th grade).

We are going to have to have some discussions with our daughter soon on this subject. I’m looking at the ‘Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle’ book by Ethridge which introduces all the necessary topics. You go through each topic together reading separately and then discussing. I’d rather be the one that she hears this type of info from first. Maybe let her read the other afterwards.

DB

April 20th, 2009
5:06 pm

I remember receiving “Little Women” for my 8th birthday, and instantly falling in love with it. My daughter didn’t find it nearly as captivating, which saddened me. I always loved the “Little House” books, and even splurged for a complete set when we visited Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Unfortunately, my daughter didn’t find them nearly as entrancing as I did.

I still have some of the original Nancy Drew books that my mother had back in the late 1930’s, early 1940’s. I remember privately giggling at them the first time I read them, comparing them to the “modern” mid-to-late 1960’s versions. I would imagine that girls today giggle just like I did at some of the more ol’ fashioned bits. “No cell phone? No cable? Is that what they meant by the Dark Ages?”

FCM

April 20th, 2009
5:24 pm

Theresa, try the Bailey Street Kids books…”Vampires Don’t Wear Polkadots” is the first one…I think Rose will like those. Both of mine like them. They are silly ’short reads’.

One child loves the Ramona series, but the other won’t get near it. Even if I offer to do it as the bedtime read. Some of Ramona is a bit out of date but most of it is still good. I can probably get my oldest to read ‘Jean and Johnny’ though.

I suppose my parent’s felt the same when I didn’t want to read Tom Sawyer or something.

OHHHHHH! Friday Fun Topic: What series do/did you want your kid to read and how do/did you get them too?

nurse&mother

April 20th, 2009
5:27 pm

Little Women is one of the few required reading for Honors English that I could NOT get into. I think this is the only book where I bought the cliff notes (ashamed to say).

April

April 20th, 2009
6:51 pm

Judy Blume is wonderful, and I think the books are very relevant – but at a much younger age. I am a middle school teacher. The current rage for the 11-13 set is Twilight. I read them (did not feel they were great literature but they do engage the tweens_ and let my own 7th grade daughter read them, but I always encourage parents to read them first. They allow for a lot of discussions about relationships. There is some sex, but more than that there are issues of how much control of your life you should hand over to a boy and how boys should treat girls.

FCM

April 20th, 2009
7:48 pm

Interesting that you (and others) felt Edward is controlling. I found Jacob to be manipulative. Rosalie is very shallow and selfish (and this is BIG in book 4). I found Calisle, Jasper, Alice to be the redeeming vampires. There is room to discuss Leah’s reaction to rejection. I just did not see Edward’s concerned and protective behavior to be the center of the book. I have read all 4 books 4 times and have yet to see that as the main theme. The series has many areas that can be discussed..parent relationships, stewardship of the world, responsibility, just to name a few. My child knows where the books are in my house and knows she may read them if she likes (right now the number of pages scares her off)…of course she can read Harry Potter (same reason why she won’t) if she likes too……I would encourage everyone to read any book (especially those mentioned today) before letting the child. Then let the child start/lead the discussion–so you see what they got out of it….you would be surprised how much might just go past them.

April

April 20th, 2009
8:04 pm

Oh, I don’t think that Edward is the worst offender in the controlling department. Jacob is horribly controlling and manipulative when Bella does not bend to his way of thinking. When he insinuated that he would kill himself if he could not have her, I almost threw the books away because that is the most manipulative thing a person can hold over another’s head. I always encourage the parents of my students to read books their children are interested in. For one thing, there are some excellent books aimed at young adult readers that are also enjoyable to adults.

catlady

April 20th, 2009
8:23 pm

Judy Blume was after my time, but my older daughter, who is now 32, read a lot of them. I was actually, as a adult, rather shocked by them at the time.

Jesse's Girl

April 20th, 2009
8:34 pm

I would let Edward control me any day:) YUM….

catlady

April 20th, 2009
8:35 pm

To show my lack of understanding: my bff and I, at the age of 14 or 15, pored over a book that stated that the male gonads were “carried outside the body in sacs”. Man, look, they misspelled sack! And what KIND of sack do they carry them in? Paper sacks? A croaker sack? AND HOW DID THEY GET THEM INTO THE SACK?

This is a true story.