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Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  1,792 Ratings  ·  344 Reviews
""I wonder if Judy Blume really knows how many girls' lives she affected. I wonder if she knows that at least one of her books made a grown woman finally feel like she'd been a normal girl all along. . . ."" -- FROM Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from

Judy Blume

Whether laughing to tears reading "Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great" or clamoring for
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Pocket Books
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MaryAnn Harlan
Jul 24, 2008 MaryAnn Harlan rated it it was amazing
It brings back so many memories of Judy Blume books, and that time period where every girl I knew read Judy Blume - we tried increasing our bust size like Margaret, and shared the pages in Forever (you know the pages), we all knew Judy Blume characters, they were the books of our childhood, and early adolescence.

It also brought me back to why I am a reader, what I find in the pages of a book and what I look for. I am a lit major - I spent a lot of years deconstructing and analyzing words and st
Dec 26, 2007 Torie rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: fans of the ''chick lit"
I was so excited to read this book. I recently bought my 12-year old niece the "Best of Blume" 4-book set for Xmas. It has all my favorites: Are You There God?, Blubber, Starring Sally J., and Iggy's House. I was probably fresh from the rapturous online purchase when I noticed Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl in the "People who bought this book also liked.." bullshit section. So I jumped up from my desk and headed to the stacks with my call number, eager to hear what kind of magic ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Kendra rated it it was ok
You have no idea how much I wanted to like this book. I was a huge Judy Blume fan as a kid, so I figured that a tribute to her had to be pretty good as well. Nope. Perhaps if the 20-some contributing writers had each written something unique, the book would have been tolerable, but it's nothing but "Just like Sally J. Freedman, I..." and "Like Margaret, I..." through the whole damn thing. And, if I counted correctly, the plots of Deenie and Forever... were re-hashed 6,000 times. There were one o ...more
Jan 09, 2008 Mary rated it liked it
While occasionally offering something genuinely touching or amusing or what-have-you, this collection of essays by current girl-teen and chick-lit authors on their connections with various Blume characters served mainly to remind me that Anything You Should Need To Know About Your Girlhood Can Supposedly Be Learned from Judy Blume. There’s a recurring mantra in these books that I remember reading on their covers years ago, the idea that they reflect the secret identity of every girl. Here you ca ...more
May 12, 2009 Vicki rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
There are moments where this book slips. That's no surprise, what with the fact that it's a collection of essays from so many different female writers. Some essays get boring, a few come with that unpleasant realization that you don't like the person writing them. But they're all pretty interesting in that they show how important Judy Blume books were for women who were teenagers in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I work with teen readers at a library. I don't see them hustling to pick up Forever...I thin ...more
Jul 28, 2007 Andrea rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Judy Bloom Fans
Shelves: read-non-fiction
For all those Judy Bloom fans out there - boy does this book bring back some memories and make you want to crack open those old volumes and see what insight you can get from them now that you are past awkward adolescence. (Indeed, some of the contributors speak to this very thing.) However, after a awhile the essays got a little old. They seemed to say the same thing and focus on the same Judy Bloom books and/or characters (I lost count of how many times "Forever" was referenced). On one hand th ...more
Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
I loved Judy Blume as a child and I have read just about all of her books. This book filled me with nostalgia for the books I did read and made me want to read the books of hers that I hadn't gotten to yet. There were lots of stories about lessons that these authors had learned from Judy Blume. The only issue I think I had with the book was that the essays got a little repetitive. They did talk about a lot of the same books and talk about a lot of the same lessons. Other than that, it was a grea ...more
Jun 05, 2009 NebraskaIcebergs rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Everything I Needed to Know About Being A Girl I Learned from Judy Blume by Jennifer O’Connell brought back a lot of memories for me. First, because it referenced books by one of my all-time favorite authors. Second, because I related to many of the contributing authors’ experiences.

Most of the latter revolves around how Blume’s books helped fans through adolescence. From Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, which received the most credit, girls everywhere finally found someone who talked openly
Feb 28, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: gender, humor
In films, they typically show people doing one of two things when in the home of someone for the first time, be they a potential friend or foe:
1)snooping in their medicine cabinets or
2)scanning the titles on their bookshelves.

While I've never done the first I do the second regularly. If a potential friend still has some of the best young adult fiction alongside the most dense non-fiction titles proudly and to balance them out, then it's a pretty safe bet we are going to be good friends. The V
Sep 09, 2007 fleegan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
so far the essays in this book are great. it's interesting to read about how much these women authors loved judy blume's books, and how much the books helped them during their adolesence. i remember reading judy blume books, but not really loving them because they were all about girl stuff and i wasn't so girly. the whole thing about "oh no! i'll be the last girl in my class to start my period! why god, why?!" i totally didn't get. well, that and by the time i read it ('80s) we didn't have to us ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: quit
The point -- that Judy Blume reflects universal experiences (as long as you're white and middle-class, which is the unspoken part of the point) that nonetheless tended to strike readers as personal revelations -- is well-taken, but also makes these essays, by and large, pretty unreadable. No one has anything interesting to say, and how could they, when the task at hand is to create variations on the theme "why my girlhood was a normal American girlhood and therefore Judy TOTALLY GOT ME." I'm as ...more
Dec 03, 2009 Shelley rated it liked it
Shelves: misc
Nope, I learned nothing from Judy Blume. (Well, possibly coping skills from Sally J Freedman, but I suspect that she just reinforced my existing ones.) But wow, a lot of women really did. Some of these essays were very interesting, others a real stretch. But really, my favorite Blume books were about Fudge, Peter and Sheila, and those weren't covered at all.

Originally: This looks like fun, even though I don't think I learned anything about being a girl from Judy Blume. I never even read Forever
Jamie Dacyczyn
Apr 21, 2015 Jamie Dacyczyn rated it really liked it
2015 Reading Challenge: A Non-Fiction Book.

3.5 stars. I actually really enjoyed this. Definitely made me nostalgic to re-read all of those old Judy Blume books. This is a collection of essays from women who recall feeling influenced or helped by JB's books in some way as they were growing up (or as an adult). It's essentially an ode to Judy Blume. Anyone who grew up reading her books would enjoy this book.

I would have liked to see some more diversity among the writers, since this was very cis-g
May 04, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
This was great for nostalgia - made me want to go to the library and check out all of the Judy Blume books I'd read over and over when I was younger. But it was a bit repetitive. A lot of the essays were extremely similar - people all felt the same while reading Deenie and Forever. So when you'd hit a rare Blubber chapter, it was a pleasant surprise. They probably could have done more to get some variety in the essays. But overall it was a great trip down memory lane.
Aug 21, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
What a walk down memory lane! This is what I'd hoped to get from Tolstoy and the Purple Chair - the love of books and how much they mean to us. I appreciated that it wasn't all about being a "girl" though. It reminded me how hard it was to be 12, how much books helped me through that age (and many others...), and what it means to be human. Not all essays were equally appealing, but I loved more than I didn't. Can't wait for book club next month!
Tanya C.
Sep 24, 2014 Tanya C. rated it liked it
This was kind of fun, to re-live how you felt reading those books with writers who read them as young girls. The particular authours that had essays in the book aren't necessarily the ones I read often (More chick lit over all than I read) but it was still a fun book to send you back to those books which were so much a part of growing up.
Mar 10, 2014 Thamar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many times I felt like putting this book down and reading Judy Blume books first. I felt like I was out of the loop in many parts and I was wanting to reach and just be and know what they were talking about. But it was good enough where the writers could still pull me into their memories and make a connection with them. Because of this book I shall now know and read Judy Blume books.
Feb 07, 2008 daysgoby rated it liked it
This was a romp, remembering books I haven't read in years.

I enjoyed it, especially hearing other perspectives on the Blume books (I didn't pick up on the coming-of-age and embracing-her-sexuality of Deenie at all when I read it)

but it did get a bit long. VERY good if you read a few, then walked away for a few days, instead of gulping the book down.
Jun 30, 2010 Jodi rated it it was ok
the first story hooked me but the rest got quite repetitive.
Jan 26, 2017 Sandy rated it really liked it
What a trip down memory lane. As I read these short stories, it took me back to my teen years and what I recalled about Judy Blume’s novels. I remembered sneaking to read her paperback novels, as my mother thought Judy was inappropriate and too mature for my innocent, sinless eyes. It was on my way to-and-from school and under my covers at night with a flashlight that I read them all. Judy’s characters knew things that I craved to know, things my girlfriends were talking about and issues that I ...more
Heather Balog
Nov 08, 2016 Heather Balog rated it liked it
I get it that this was a collection of essays and not a real story, but I found it to be very disjointed and quite frankly, boring. I adore Judy Blume and of course I can appreciate how her novels changed readers and some of the essays were quite good. But after the umpteenth essay about "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" and "Deenie", I was bored and it took me "forever" to read. I think it would have been better if each author took one book to relate to her life instead of pretty much the s ...more
Amy Hufford
Feb 16, 2017 Amy Hufford rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Well this is certainly a joyless affair. I loved Judy Blume and I was expecting this book to be poignant, nostalgic, possibly humorous. It was none of those things and it caused me to do something I rarely do....stop reading.
I loved it! Anyone who read and loved Judy Blume books as a child and teen needs to read this book! It's a series of essays from Young Adult and Chick Lit authors about how certain Judy Blume books impacted their lives.

Because of that theme, one of my favorite of her books, Tiger Eyes, barely was mentioned at all, presumably because this group of women didn't lose anyone tragically in their teen years (thank goodness!) and the Fudge books got the short shrift too, but mostly my favorites were co
Sherri F.
Apr 21, 2015 Sherri F. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Judy Blume fans; parents of pre-teen & teen girls
Recommended to Sherri by: Goodreads!
Of course, Judy Blume fans should read this one, but also us mature (or pretending to be mature) women who want to reminise about their pre-teen & teen years and hear what some other mature women (and writer's who are JB fans, too) are reflecting on from then and now, as well as parents of pre-teen and teen girls.

Other than maybe it could have either been condensed to 15 vs about 25 writer's essays or that the 25 had shorter essay, especially after 1/2 way thru when a lot of then have simila
Dec 21, 2016 Andrea rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-books
I would have given this three stars but honestly after a while I couldn't even finish it. I contemplated twice about putting it down for good.but decided to persevere and wade through it. That didn't last long at all. To be honest it's best to read this book after reading all of the Judy Blume books mentioned in the many stories that fill the pages. Since I haven't read them all and it's been decades since I've read any, I felt a little lost. Some of the stories, particularly the first one, are ...more
Feb 05, 2010 Anne-Marie rated it it was ok
I consider myself someone who isn't in to short stories. But then almost every time I read a book of compiled shorts, I change my mind and decide that I should read more short stories. Part of my reluctance to embrace the short story is because I don't want to invest in something that will be over so soon. But then when I read one I once again realize that not everything has to be lengthy and detailed. Sometimes short is just long enough. And if the stories in this book were any longer, I would ...more
Jan 28, 2008 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Judy Blume fans
Recommended to Meghan by: Robbie Bashore
I liked this book in that it took me down a pleasurable trip down memory lane. If you're American and a girl, most likely you will have read at least one Judy Blume book in your formative years. Blume books are a coming of age guide for tween girls. And a few of the writers' stories, I thought were interesting.

What I didn't like about this book is how poorly written most of these stories were. You could definitely tell what genre they wrote and not at the top of their genre either. Other than Me
Oct 20, 2009 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays

I had high hopes for Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume as I loved Ms. Blume's books when I was a pre-teen, and I also enjoy reading others' impressions of shared interests. Yet, this book -- a collection of essays -- was a letdown for two reasons. First, nearly half of the entries were highly personal recollections that would have been more appropriate for the writers' private journals than for a public tribute to an author. (I often wondered if they had re

Jun 18, 2013 Keshia rated it really liked it
"I wonder if Judy Blume really knows how many girls' lives she affected."

Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume is a fantastic collection of essays from multitudes of writers, talking about Judy Blume and her novels and how they affected her life. Growing up I was a huge Judy Blume fan (although I have yet to read what she's probably most well known for,'Are you there God, it's me Margaret') and reading through these essays only brought back all the wonderful me
Apr 07, 2014 Hilary rated it really liked it
I picked this up with some level of expectation, and I wasn't disappointed. Surprised, by the number of women for whom Deenie was so influential, and with fond memories of books like Are you there God It's me Margaret and Then again maybe I won't, I was reminded how Judy Blume successfully gets inside the head of 11-14 year old girls, giving her audience someone who understood them, someone who could answer their questions, and reminding adults of what it was like. (I wasn't surprised by those w ...more
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Library 4 33 Jul 09, 2008 09:55AM  
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Published teen fiction under the name Jenny O'Connell.

Although she's written about a reality dating show, a prescient pastry chef, and a woman who inspired an 80's rock hit, Jennifer has not spent hours dissecting The Bachelor, she can barely follow the directions on the back of a Betty Crocker box, and she can only dream of a long-haired, guitar-thrashing rocker even giving her a second glance.

More about Jennifer O'Connell...

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“As I look back over the other best friendships I've had that also ended, I wonder if, in addition to simply having a finite amount of time for such intimacy, we also have certain periods in our lives in which we seek out people who seem to embody the things we lack. Then, when we gain those things for ourselves, we no longer need that friend in the same way, which causes a serious dissonance in the relationship. Perhaps this is why these particular friendships burn so bright and then disappear so completely.” 18 likes
“The first thing I learned from Judy Blume was that God is the wrong one to ask for bigger breasts. (Stephanie Lessing)” 9 likes
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