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Judy Blume
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Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,138 Ratings  ·  351 Reviews
While spending the winter of 1947-48 in Miami Beach with her family, ten-year-old Sally makes up stories, casts herself in starring roles in movies, and encounters a sinister stranger.
Hardcover, First Edition, 298 pages
Published March 1st 1977 by Bradbury Press
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Nov 15, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a tenuous grip on reality
I thought about giving this a five, and it might deserve one.

This is Judy Blume's best book. It's written for a younger crowd than her Puberty books, and Sally's concerns lie in the elementary school horrors of shame and embarrassment and trying to fit in. These are conveyed spectacularly well, as when she discovers upon moving to Florida that there are no doors on the bathroom stalls at her new school. Imagine!! The details in this book -- the social necessity of not wearing socks, the way the
Jun 05, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrensbooks
So my mother found a stack of book reviews I did in elementary school as part of my class competition for who could read the most books in one year. In her endless quest to clean out my paraphernalia from her house, they are now with me.

I guess there were shades of GR back then--I won. Here is a random book review from the middle of the pack. Warning, I was a terrible and still am a terrible speller. Thank goodness for spell check! Otherwise I probably would have had to become an engineer :)

Jun 02, 2008 Presley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
"Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself" is my favorite book. It's about ten-year-old Sally who moves to Maimi Beach for the winter since her brother has a kidney infection and needs to stay in warmth. The book takes place in the post World War Two era. The book doesn't really have a main conflict, but you see Sally encounter world conflicts through naive eyes. She questions segregation a lot and she gets the same answers from adults: That's just the way things are. You also see Sally encounter e ...more
Jun 25, 2008 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the first books I truly considered a "favorite."

Judy Blume was in New York doing a reading my freshmen year of college -- not having my copy with me, I bought a new copy of this beloved favorite and had her sign it. I couldn't stop gushing about how much I loved this book :o)

Superb characters, this is a book that has always "stuck with me." I often think of and remember little bits and pieces from the story. One of those books that seems to get better and better every time you re-read it
Mar 11, 2016 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, reread
I was recently reminded of this after a conversation about the rarity of children's books about Jews that aren't all Holocaust all the time. I remembered loving this as a kid and am pleased that it stands up well to a rereading as an adult. Blume really is a good writer.[return][return]This is the story of Sally, a ten-year-old girl who moves from New Jersey to Florida with her mom, brother, and grandma after World War II, because her brother has been ill and winters down south are recommended f ...more
Apr 27, 2016 Jerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's been years since I've read any books by Judy Blume, and even longer since I've read anything of hers outside of the Fudge series. I'd heard that some of her other books caused controversy, and, with this one, it's not hard to see why. Suggestive content aside, the good writing in this book was marred by a boring story and too many disparaging remarks about God. Readers of youth-oriented fiction can do much better.
Kelly Hager
Oct 20, 2015 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my favorite books from when I was a child. I overidentified with Sally (I also had a tendency to make up more interesting realities than my own) and I thought she was just really smart and fun.

And now there are spoilers.

Here's what I remembered going in: set shortly after World War II; Sally is Jewish and has several fantasies about saving her relatives who died in a concentration camp and killing Hitler; her older brother gets sick--something to do with his kidneys---and her gra
Jun 14, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grade C

Although World War II has just ended, ten-year-old Sally is still preoccupied with Hitler. She writes stories about her cousin, who died in his camps, and even thinks her new neighbor just might be Hitler in disguise.

I loved bright, inquisitive Sally and all her creativity. I too wrote stories of peril when I was her age. STARRING SALLY J FREEDMAN AS HERSELF is a slice of life, period piece, one of Judy Blume's earliest and most autobiographical novel. As an adult, I enjoyed the story, bu
Just re-read this 30+ years after my first read. Timeless. It's Judy Blume's most autobiographical novel & one of her best, I think.
Alex Baugh
Dec 28, 2011 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
This is an early Judy Blume book about a 10 year old girl living in post war America. In it, Blume portrays misconceptions that can happen when kids don’t fully understand complicated events and how they fill in what they don’t know with their own ideas.

Sally Jane Freedman likes her life in New Jersey. She has friends, including a best friend, and her family, mom, dad, older brother Douglas and maternal grandmother, Ma Fanny, all live in relative peace and harmony in a nice comfortable four bedr
Etta King
Jan 20, 2013 Etta King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book so many years ago - I was probably just about SJF's age - but it's amazing how I remember every detail. It's a brilliant take on a turbulent time through the eyes of a young girl. So many events as told by Sally, from the end of the war to sitting Shivah for her neighbors, seem so much more poignant, because the descriptions are without artifice. There is no real filter through Sally's eyes; we see everything because she doesn't know to look away. And her understanding of little ...more
Madison Truby
Dec 31, 2015 Madison Truby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sally moves away from her home for the winter to Miami Beach for her brothers health. She was nervous about leaving her friends back at home in New Jersey and if she will make friends in Florida, will she like her new school, will she fit in?

This was a really good book. I really liked Sally's personality how she wanted to be adventurous and she was always curious about new things and had a very active imagination. So if you like adventures and trying new things I recommend this book to you.
Lizmary Marquez
Mar 06, 2015 Lizmary Marquez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book was awesome . Why because this book was showing the life of sally . In the book it was telling about sally and her family going to Miami. Also how sally's brother fell down in the union woods and he got really sick. Also in the book they were showing how sally did like a person in Miami and she tried her best to not get next to the person.
I used to looove this. I remember i felt super grown-up reading it because our library had the hard back edition which I thought was extra extra extra long. On re-read, it's still cute, but there's a few things that are fucked up. One is this weird "Latin Lovers" thing the main character goes on and on about, and there's also some fatphobia. Also, perhaps this only bothered me because I happened to read the two one right after the other, but a girl who is doesn't know how to swim, doesn't want t ...more
I recently re-read this, along with a couple of other Judy Blume favourites, as I was writing some self-esteem sessions for teenaged girls and wanted to get back into my own headspace at that age. This is such a lovely book, and loses none of its charm for being read as an adult; in fact, I think the added charm is actually that I recognise so much of the behaviour of the adults in the stories as my own, now, and really appreciate the unique talent that Ms Blume hasin her ability to be right the ...more
Meshi Zilberstein
This book has not received any awards.

This book is appropriate for grade levels: 3-7.

This book tells the story of a young girl named Sally who is living in New Jersey when World War II ends in 1945. When her older brother Douglas gets sick, Sally's family decides to move to Florida to help improve his health. As she adjusts to her post war life in a new home, readers are told a story through Sally's deepest feelings and wild imagination.

This book was and still is one of my very favo
Sep 09, 2015 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sally has to move from her home in NJ to Florida when her brother develops nephritis. Although she's skeptical about moving to Miami with her brother, mother, and grandmother, she quickly adjusts to life at the condo. Sally's imagination runs wild as she makes up stories about her situation... and even believes that Adolf Hitler is living in the condo. She spends the rest of her time hanging out with friends, listening to the party line, and missing her father, who is still living in NJ.

This was
Julie Decker
Feb 12, 2014 Julie Decker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sally is an imaginative child whose every thought becomes a full-blown fantasy. When she moves to Florida in the 1940s--in a confusing political and social climate much bigger than she can grasp--Sally worries about fitting in, and decorates her existence with meaning. She fixates on movie stars. She creates a secret identity for a neighbor. She interprets a bird's "gift" as a sign of luck. And she longs to be more than just one little girl; her quest for significance through small acts is touch ...more
Sep 05, 2012 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Giving this five stars just because I re-read this so often it's a story that stayed with me. It also fuelled my childhood obsession with Judaism and WWII. (That and my sister's GCSE textbook).

Things I learnt through this book:
- Who Esther Williams is.
- Numerous Yiddish expressions.

Things I didn't learn 'til later:
- None of my family would give me a decent response when I enquired what a 'bordello' was. And it wasn't in whatever sub-par dictionary I looked it up in.
Rachael Eyre
Hmm. This was one of my favourite books aged ten or so, but once the filter of nostalgia is lifted, you come to this realisation: nothing much actually happens. Yes, it's coming of age / slice of life and all that, but Sally doesn't honestly appear to change or grow as a person. The element I remembered best as a kid - her daydreams about Hollywood - wasn't as key as I remembered, and the "Hitler in Miami Beach" storyline could have done with a better denouement too. Mr Zavodsky may not be the F ...more
Feb 20, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A period piece, following a Jewish girl named Sally as she and her family recover from the end of WWII. What happens when they move to Florida for the winter; missing her father who stays behind in New Jersey, worrying about her brother Douglas and learning how to fit in in the fifth grade where she is not the tallest, the smartest or the prettiest. Still she has the best imagination going and uses it to deal with her feelings toward Hitler, Jewish life, and the small matters of friends, school ...more
Feb 26, 2015 Bethany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-read
This is one of my favorite books from my childhood. I decided to re-read it the other day. Sally is such a loveable girl with an overactive imagination. I miss books like this for kids... believable characters, no vampires... Still thankful to Judy Blume, even after all these years.
Jan 16, 2015 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beauty, I think, of keeping books from your childhood is that they start to mean so much more when you reread them in adulthood.

I hadn't read a single Judy Blume in 10 years, and I'm pretty darn proud of myself for randomly picking this up from the shelf last Tuesday.

In the past two days, I'd blocked out everything but this story until pretty soon I started to recognize voices, emotions, questions, curiosities, likes and dislikes that used to envelope me at age 10. "Starring Sally J. Freedm
I read this one over and over again. I think I had some parts memorized. It really saddens me that they don't have a picture of the edition I had which was yellow!
Amy Mingasson
Nov 10, 2015 Amy Mingasson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a child, this wonderful book gave me my first glimpse of Jewish family life in 1940s America, which my own mother experienced but was rarely prone to discuss. Sally J. Freedman is a sweet 5th-grader from a loving, secular Jewish family in New Jersey. The story takes place mostly in 1947, the year during which Sally's family moves temporarily to Florida.

When I first read this book as a kid, my mother saw that I enjoyed it so much that she borrowed it and devoured it in two days. Now she's gone
Mar 11, 2007 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle School Kids
This was one of my favorite childhood novels. I re-read it many times. Sally is a vibrant character, and her adventures are exciting and often funny.
Jul 08, 2007 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite Judy Blume book. I borrowed it from the library so many times that the librarian suggested I read something else!
Allegra Green
May 08, 2014 Allegra Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-as-a-kid, wwii
I adored this book and read it multiple times as a kid, but I think it's best if it's read with a parent or teacher that can explain the situation. Sally's life has been recently affected by the holocaust and she doesn't fully understand it, so reading it as a kid I didn't understand that part of it. It made me terrified to take showers and also that I would go somewhere where there would be no doors on the bathroom stalls (if you've read it you know what I'm talking about)! Also, the sexual ove ...more
Jul 18, 2008 Laurah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The best part about reading this book was finding a post-it in the back of the book which read " Please Kick Me. Thanks, Arnie"
Sophia M
May 25, 2015 Sophia M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion, this book was phenomenal. This book reminds me of my friend and her brother because both boys are independent, and both girls are clueless girls, who just want to be included. The writing was simple to read, but effective. This book didn’t really have any weaknesses, and I loved the way the author used descriptive words to really describe the story. When I read this book I could really imagine it in my mind. Once I picked this book up I simply couldn’t put it down. I would recomme ...more
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Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We're Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fu ...more
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