In the last three days I have had four conversations about books I read in school. Particularly any written by Judy Blume.
The year is 1986. I am in Primary 7 about to go to high school.
The Book People had just been to our school. Our small library had been replenished with brand new, shiny, increased and sparkly books.
At this point in time Judy Blume had just hit our girly radar’s and we were like gazelle’s in a stampede trying to get access to the limited copies that had been allowed into our school.The book itself had raised much controversy in our staunch catholic environment.
Never before had so many pre-pubescent girls been so quiet at lunchtime. There we were, taking shots each to read a page from the forbidden and what we all considered, highly controversial teenage literature. One of us would keep ‘shotty’ while the rest ear-marked the good bits and paid our dues to get our name added to the list of who got to take it home next.
Being brought up as a catholic, I remember the guilt-trip and the awkward feelings, so much so that I would hide it in my room when I got home from school. Pretending to my family that I was reading Little Women instead. After all, there was talk about willies and vagina’s in it and lets not forget Ralph! Oh how we can laugh now about that!
The retro turn-dial phones in all our houses were red-hot from the late night phone calls taken in the cupboard under the stairs, our giggles matching our flushed cheeks as we read on and on over the airwaves – excitedly mentioning particular pages that were ‘of interest’. Notes would fly around class with questions about our anatomy compared to what we were secretly reading. Our young, naive minds would work overtime to try to decipher the books discreet sexual messages.
Not forgetting the blasé ‘I’ve already done that’ chat from the more mature and externally developed among us. We would all gasp in wonder at their indignant declarations of fumbling around with some of the boys in our class. Oh, the horror we would gasp as we hid behind our fingers and squealed in that high-pitched tone, One Direction fans are known to possess.
I read it again recently and I smiled.
Fast forward to last year, 2012 and the hammer-like weight of E.L James’ trilogy of lust – 50 shades. No further comment required from me here.
I now feel old and wonder if I had been Judy Blume – would I have kept Katherine and Michael together..Forever? It was made into a film in 1978 – maybe I should buy it and re-live my youth.