About a month ago, on a Friday night, my husband, daughter and I decided to make a late night run to one of our local Barnes and Nobles. This particular Barnes and Noble also has a used book annex so it’s a place our family loves to check out. You never know what you will find there. A true book lover’s dream! 🙂 There were also a few new books I wanted to look for including Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event. A girl can never have enough books! I hadn’t read any of her books since I was a child, the premise of this book sounded interesting to me and so I wanted to give this one a read. As we walked into the store, there was a huge banner announcing that Judy Blume would be there the following Monday for a book signing! Wow! Judy Blume had been a staple in my childhood reading and now she had become the same for my daughter. My daughter read most of her books the prior summer, except Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, which she read this summer. So, my daughter was very familiar with Judy Blume’s work too. I had never been to a book signing before. Hmm…should we go? My daughter and I both wanted to meet Judy Blume, but my shyness was making me think twice about it. For, the rest of the weekend, my daughter expressed a strong desire to go. If it wasn’t for her, I might have let my shyness get the best of me and opted out of going. Boy was I glad I didn’t do that!
We decided on Monday to go to the signing that night. We even dragged my hubby along! I thought if nothing else, it would be a great mommy/daughter memory for us! Monday evening we went off to Barnes and Noble, my In the Unlikely Event and my daughter’s Superfudge in hand, ready for our first in person author’s autographs! What we got that night was more then just an autograph of an author that was such a special piece of both of our childhoods. We got to see into the person that is Judy Blume and her beautiful heart . She made the whole event feel personal and showed true appreciation to all her fans, young and old. Yes, there were many young girls in the room as well. Ms.Blume acknowledged all of the children in the room. When she discussed her book, due to the sensitive subject matter, Judy Blume was careful to talk in a way that wouldn’t be unnerving for young listeners. Judy Blume has such an amazing gift for words, to discuss subjects others won’t in an honest way, but in a comfortable way too. This gift was truly apparent at the signing where she was able to talk this way on the fly too.
When I’m done reading In the Unlikely Event, I will review it. However, the basic premise of this book is based in 1951 when three planes, on three separate days crashed into different areas of Elizabeth, NJ. People had all kinds of suspicions as to why this was happening. Although, this is a true event, the book is completely a work of fiction. During Judy Blume’s talk, we met her husband who wrote the newspaper pieces contained in the book. We also met a woman, who was a young girl at the time, and was one of the survivors from one of the planes. Only one of these three planes had any survivors at all. This woman was flying with her mom and refused to exit the plane until her mom (who was injured) came off with her. Ms.Blume talked about meeting many involved in this event in some way, while writing this book and going on the book tour. There were even some in the audience that night!
Judy Blume also had a question and answer segment. Judy Blume always addressed the person asking the questions directly, moving around the room to speak near each one. The question that stuck out most to me was about advice to aspiring authors. My almost tween daughter is an aspiring author so that question could have a great impact on her. Judy Blume’s answer:
- READ, READ, READ
- Be prepared for lots of editing
- Don’t get discouraged by a “no”
Ms.Blume said to “read, read, read” so that you figure out what kinds of writing you like and don’t like, then go find your own voice. Judy Blume said she edits at least 20 times per book. Having a daughter who wants to be an author, but hates the edit process, this one hit home! Judy Blume said that when she got her first “no”, she didn’t let them see her cry. She went home into a closet and cried. Then she got up and said “Wait till they see what I write next time!” Can you imagine what would have happened if Judy Blume stopped writing? No Are You There God, It’s Me Margret? No Superfudge? No Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing? No Blubber? as well as many others.
Then, it was time for Judy Blume to sign books. As we waited for our turn, I was amazed to see that Ms.Blume took the time to speak with each of her fans. I remember a young girl who brought with her a handmade board all about Judy Blume. It looked like it was probably a school project. Judy Blume took the time to look at all the aspects of this board and then she signed the board. Wow! What a precious memory for that young girl! 🙂 Eventually, it came to my daughter’s and my turn to meet Judy Blume and have our books signed. Judy not only talked to us, but she greeted each of us by name! I thought that was a nice, personal touch. Photos were taken and the event was done.
As we walked out of the store heading home, I remember thinking what a wonderful evening that was. I walked out with a greater understanding of the woman who is Judy Blume. I had made memories with my daughter (and my husband 😉 ) that would last a lifetime! I was so glad my daughter wanted to meet Judy Blume with me and I didn’t let my shyness get the best of me! I felt so loved by my husband because he gave up his evening to make this memory with his girls.