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The Changing Relevance of Judy Blume

A film version of the classic and often banned Judy Blume novel Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, is scheduled to hit theaters September 6, 2022. Not much is known about the plot itself, which raises a lot of questions. For instance, when the original book was published in the 1970s, it was unusual for children to be raised without religious affiliation, as Margaret is. Will this be the case for a Margaret of 2022? Will a 21st-century Margaret’s explorations of puberty be treated as scandalous?

These and other questions bring up just how relevant Judy Blume’s coming-of-age story, as well as her other stories, such as the Fudge series, Blubber, and Deenie, still are. Millennial adults who grew up with them still consider Blume’s books classics and have introduced their own kids to them, and some Gen Z kids still read and enjoy them. However, Judy Blume doesn’t seem like quite the gold standard of coming-of-age stories she once was. Her plots don’t read as "cutting edge" because they’re not as controversial anymore. You could call them downright tame.

Blume is definitely still relevant, but the question has become, just how relevant is she? In the case of Blume and her books, what does "relevant" mean? How is she similar to or different from today’s hottest middle-grade and young adult authors, and can she maintain her place as a classic author, or will her books eventually lapse into obscurity? Discuss.

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