What do cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, and forewords have in common?
I think the words written on them are boring. As a lusty reader, however, I get so desperate that I will read anything. A lonely breakfast will have me reading the ingredients of Honey Nut Cheerios and doing the kid’s maze on the back of the box. Standing in the shower with leave-in-conditioner prompts a full perusal of the written details of Garnier Fructis’ magical volumizing powers.
And lastly, if I finish my book early on my commute home, I’ll read the acknowledgements, foreword, and research notes for the remaining metro ride. Otherwise I never read these bits.
Luckily the latter DID just happen to me, as I was left with a 15 minute metro ride but was done with my book. I flipped back to the beginning where there was a 4 page “introduction” and it turns out it was SUPER INTERESTING.
I was reading Judy Blume’s Wifey and she had written the introduction about what prompted her to create the story. Although I adored her in my youth, I never knew anything about her personally. Turns out she was raised in a conservative Jewish family in New Jersey with very specific expectations and pressure to marry young, and marry for stability. Before she graduated college, she was married – by 25 she had two children – by 37 she needed freedom and her own life. She left her husband and took her 2 children with her.
As Ms. Blume embarked on this personal journey, she wrote Wifey. I had NO idea it was the first book she ever wrote, but it wasn’t published until much later, when she was already mid-way through her Young Adult writing career. So oh boy, what an uproar this book DID cause when it came out! There is lots of masturbation, adultery, exhibitionism, voyeurism, birth control methods, and STDs in Wifey (and yes I was surprised about all those topics, just wait for my review!).
One of my favorite lines from the intro she wrote is:
“[People] had no way of knowing I was basically a good girl with an active imagination”
Oh Judy, that’s the story of my life!
So what is the moral of this post? I have a new-found respect for Judy Blume and I will be reading the forewords, acknowledgements, bios, etc. of my books more often!
You can read the full introduction to Wifey here on Judy’s website.
Early People article on Judy, her 2 marriages, and writing career written in 1984 is here.
[also Edited to Add above photo, I’m an idiot and forgot to put it in when i posted this]
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