The New Forever

judyblumeFew writers can compare with Judy Blume.  Mostly because, it seems, few writers want to take on some of the subjects she was willing to write about–at least not for young people.  

You will find some Judy Blume novel at the heart of some “growing up moments” for so many women.  You only have to read read Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume to see just how she influenced a generation with her fiction.

A couple of the essays in Everything take on Forever… (a.k.a. The Sex Book), and Stacey Ballis describes it like this:

Forever was the book that got passed reverentially from older sibling to younger, usually with key passages highlighted and essential page numbers listed in the back.  It was the book that we read aloud at slumber parties, whispered about in the back of the school bus, and was the single most likely item to be stolen from a sixth-grade desk.”

foreverYes, the book’s notoriety among tweens and teens was related to the fact that it talks about sex.  But the book’s resonance went beyond the illicit content.  Ballis continues:

“Judy Blume opened a door for me by simply depicting something real and not overly romanticized, which seemed to make it even more, well, romantic.”

That’s what I was thinking about when the teen novel Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky landed on my desk at work.  The ARC had an eye -catching jacket that promised the kind of illicit content that made Forever what it was.  In case you can’t read it in the photo below, the jacket says:

“Warning:

Reading may produce the following side effects:

Rosy cheeks

Sweaty Palms

Racing Heart”

Snadowsky does make good on that promise.  There is sex in this book and plenty of it.  But what reminded me so strongly of Judy Blume was its lack of romance.  The sex in Anatomy of a Single Girl isn’t really about being erotic, despite what the warning might make you think.  It’s more clinical than sexy, and our narrator manages to be scientific and emotional.

anatomyof

The story began with Anatomy of a Boyfriend, which follows the same storyline as Forever.  Life goes on, of course, even after a break up.  And we get the second installment in Anatomy of a Single Girl.   I don’t know if Snadowsky’s books will have the influence and staying power of Judy Blume’s books, but they definitely add to the list of books that answer all the questions about sex and relationships that girls are often afraid to ask.  I think that’s a good thing.

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