As you may recall, Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was one of the books on my “Books that Kept Me Reading” list. My mom introduced me to her work as a girl and I was instantly a fan. So when I was able to grab tickets to see Blume speak at the Toronto Library, you can imagine the girl inside of me was squealing with joy. But, as the interviewer of the night said early on, I will keep the gushing to a minimum. But still. It’s freakin’ Judy Blume.
I attended the event with my mom, sister, and boyfriend, so this was truly a nostalgic family affair. Blume received a standing ovation upon entering the library’s Appel Salon, and without wasting any time, they jumped right into the conversation.
Blume was at the library to speak about her most recent book, In the Unlikely Event (full review here), and where the story came from. The plane crashes upon which this story is based happened in real life to the author as a fourteen-year-old girl in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but the story itself came to her all at once only now.
Blume also mentioned how she was an advocate against censorship and spoke about feminist issues such as women being able to have an independent sex life without feeling guilty. She talked about how parents often felt offended that she taught them about sex and puberty before they got a chance, to which Blume replies, “What are you waiting for?” Blume refuses to hide these truths from children and teaches a lot of kids about things their parents are too embarrassed to talk about themselves.
Once the conversation was wrapped up, Blume was able to sign one book for each of the 1,000 guests at the talk. The line-up went around the entire Appel Salon, which is not a small room. Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long before handing over my book and getting to personally meet the woman who made me fall in love with reading; I was able to tell her everything I wanted to, and she was so down-to-earth and showed so much appreciation for each and every fan.
It was the most united I’ve ever felt with everyone in a room for a book signing. It almost felt like being at a concert – people cheering when she mentioned their most beloved books, cheering when they could see Blume step out onto the sidelines of the stage, and fans singing their praise to her at the Q&A. I don’t know how else to describe the entire evening except surreal and almost magical.
It was definitely a night I won’t forget anytime soon.