July 14, 2016
Candace Hardy (22 articles)
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JUDY BLUME, still fresh, lively and uncensored.

What kid has not hunkered down to a good Judy Blume book. http://www.judyblume.com/about.php Loved by pre-adolescent girls everywhere, Judy is known for telling it like it is without censorship. She knows kids and what’s important to them, whether is a first menstrual period, first crush, first kiss, or the pain of divorce. It always amazes me that no matter when her books are published, they always have a current message of friendship, tolerance, acceptance and the camaraderie that marks later childhood. JUST AS LONG AS WE’RE TOGETHER is such a book.

Stephanie, Rachel, and Alison are best friends. Stephanie with her imaginary boyfriend poster in the form of Richard Gere above her bed; Rachel, gifted, impeccably clean and organized, academically gifted, and tiny Alison, Vietnamese and adopted by famous actor and actress parents, all seem to find a common denominator. But lives change and when Stephanie’s parents divorce there is a new home to live in part time with a woman named Iris. And of course, when a very cute boy enters the picture, allegiances change and there are new trusts to be kept.

Ms. Blume has a way of making her minor characters relevant and shine with personality without blinding the protagonists. Stephanie has conversations in her head about Peter Klaff, the son of Stephanie’s doctor, and what might be disclosed about her in private. Of course, nothing is further from the truth, Peter is the first guy friend every girl is lucky enough to have. Young brother Bruce who shows a very sweet side of himself as he comforts Stephanie who is adjusting to the separation of their parents, Alison’s famous parents, who try to reassure the young adoptee, Alison,  that she’ll be just as loved when their new baby arrives.

I found it to be an all around good read. And I’m off to the library to find more of what this prolific author has to say.

 

Candace Hardy