Judy Blume taught countless little girls about sex. But who taught Judy Blume?
At BookCon to promote her new book,”In The Unlikely Event,” — the first one geared to adults in nearly 16 years — the author gave a little insight of what it was like to grow up as a tween without the comfort of Judy Blume books. “Well, we didn’t have YA growing up,” Blume told a former ultra-Orthodox woman who asked her how she coped. “So I went right to my parents’ bookshelves. I found a lot of satisfaction in adult books.”
In a special interview with Jennifer Weiner, the 77-year old also shared some high school-era regrets with the audience.
“I was very active,” she said (intending no innuendo). Indeed, she was in the “advanced glee club.” But she noticed at the time that no African-American girls ever seemed to make the cut. At Blume’s 40-year high-school reunion, she decided to stand up and unburden herself of a secret guilt: She remembered seeing the glee-club teacher’s list of applicants, with a big C written beside the names of all the black girls. “I felt so terribly guilty,” she said, eyes welling up. “Why didn’t anyone say something? Afterward, a couple of girls came up to me and said, ‘We never knew that you knew.’ And that was very heavy and wonderful — a cathartic moment.”
Blume added that she had originally included the incident in her novel, which comes out Tuesday, but decided to cut it because it interfered with narrative flow. “In The Unlikely Event” revolves around three plane crashes in Blume’s hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, near Newark airport.