I first read a library copy of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume when I was in second or third grade. I adored it. I managed to get a hold of my very own copy of Superfudge shortly after that. I read it until the cover fell off and I had to tape it back together. (My copy of Blubber is equally mangled; when I was about ten, I found a garage sale paperback that was already pretty tattered. Right before the cover disintegrated, I traced it in the hope of being able to draw my own replacement!) I loved those Judy Blume books more than just about anything else in the world.
Last week I found an audio copy of Double Fudge at the library. It’s read by Judy Blume herself, and she’s a terrific narrator. I want to call her up and invite her over for coffee and apple cinnamon muffins on my patio. At the very least, I want to write her a really long fan letter. Reading those books again feels like visiting my very best friends from childhood. And I still love them just as much!
I wish Judy Blume would write just one more novel telling me what Peter and Fudge Hatcher are like as middle-aged men. I assume that Peter followed his dad into advertising. He has two daughters and a dog. Tootsie grew up to be a dentist. Jimmy is a professional hockey player. Fudge is most certainly unemployed, save for a few stints as a game show contestant and a couple of viral videos. I’m quite sure he lives in Peter’s basement.
All of Judy Blume's books were instrumental to me. I see the world the way I do now in part because of those books. They weren't just entertainment to me (though I did find them entertaining); more than anything, they taught me how other people think and live. And isn't that what literature is for?
If I can write a book that speaks to just one reader the way Judy Blume spoke to me, I’ll feel like a successful writer.
Then I'll quit writing and just watch more TV.