What do cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, and forewords have in common?

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.

judyblumebooks 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!


If interested:

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]

9 Responses

  1. I read EVERYTHING.


    Sometimes it drives me insane but then I realize that it’s why the words are there. To be READ. Who cares if it’s on a shampoo bottle?

  2. Ok, I’ll admit: never knew Judy had it in her. But I like surprises. And I like New Jersey. This makes her my new favorite person of the week.

  3. I too find myself reading everything I can lay my eyes on. I finally resigned myself to putting a book in the bathroom permanently to avoid having to read the nasty ingredients list on my shampoo bottle for the umpteenth time.That’s how I ended up reading the majority of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, actually.

    Your Judy Blume story reminds me of when I attempted to read Don Quixote. I was tempted to breeze past the rather lengthy intro written by some douche bag who probably spent his entire life studying the book to save myself the time it would have taken to read the twenty or so pages. But I was good–I read that intro dutifully, and it’s a good thing I did because I would have dropped the book sooner if I hadn’t. Lesson learned: if there’s an intro, read it. It might just give you the plot of the book so you can at least attempt to follow it for a little while before the archaic language does you in and you abandon the attempt.

  4. Oh my lord…I had no idea! That is fascinating… I will totally check it out.

  5. pretty much i could have written the first part of this post (minus the lustyreaderness). like the whole thing. like everything.

    judy blume? i love finding info about authors i thought i “knew.”

  6. PQ: so you’re saying the back of the wheat thins box is like mount everest? i like it, i will quote you, “That’s why the words are there. To be READ. Who cares if it’s on a shampoo bottle?”

    f.B: i *don’t* like surprises. but i DO like trivia (which i now know about ms. blume) and i do like new jersey, even though my in-laws live there

    olga: i am a magazine only bathroom kinda house, but i DO want to read those lemmony snicket (sp?) books! and i sooo agree with you on the automatic urge to “skip” intros, but it sounds like we’ve learned out lesson that it is worth it!

    lilu: yeah, definitely made the book much more personal since it really seemed to reflect her life

    ,ylittlebecky: i like your whole thing too, that’s what she said.

  7. Yeah, the Lemony Snicket’s are fun, if a little depressing (he tends to harp on the hopelessness factor). Quick, clever reads. My niece has already blown through them as well, she’s nine.

  8. I can’t believe I wrote “I like surprises.” I hate them, actually. The only exception, really, is in a person’s character. I like when someone has layers [Shrek: ogres are like onions, onions have layers, ogres have layers]. But just generally being surprised? No, no. E.g., I’ve never had a surprise birthday party.

  9. f.B: thank you for the update, note taken. but you know what everybody does like? parfaits, parfaits are delicious!

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