"My fourteen-year-old daughter said, 'Couldn't there be a book about two nice kids who do it and nobody has to die?" Judy Blume told me last night while discussing Forever. There was also a fabulous purple jacket involved.
It was the Authors' Guild benefit dinner, and Blume was rocking a purple jacket that she's worn to several big events lately, the same jacket she's about to wear to the White House for a Jewish Heritage Month reception. "I'll take any invitation I'll get!" she said cheerfully when Jenna and I lured her away from her table for a minute's chat. Had she been there for this administration yet? "No, and this is the administration I'd want to go to. I wouldn't have gone for the last eight years, I have to say."
Blume usually spends most of her time in Key West. "You can wear anything in Key West," she said. "Or nothing. But I look better in something."
She also has a collection of leather jackets, including one in robin's egg blue. "I have a great leather jacket that my daughter says is a little Michael Jackson, but it's not," she said.
But back to the purple jacket, which she bought at Nieman Marcus in Miami. "Watch this," she said, and snapped it open flirtatiously. I asked her to do it again so I could record it on my iPhone.
Here she is Tweeting about it.
Actually, Blume just joined Twitter, rather reluctantly. "It was pressure from my husband, who is very high-tech. I love my blog. I love my website. I didn't really want to do Twitter. Like, who cares?"
But through her website, which features some pretty great animation, Blume gets to hear about how much her books mean to a whole new generation of people. "There are so many different generations that grew up with it. I don't change but they keep getting older," she joked. "But I am the same. Well, that's my fantasy."
Of course, there are still plenty of people who want to prevent her frank narratives of adolescence and sexuality from corrupting a whole new generation.
"There is a tremendous amount of censorship going on right now, and book banning," she said. "Much more than in the 70s. Is it as bad as it was in the 80s? It's pretty bad right now. The 80s were the worst and it never left."
Which means she hears from the haters too. As she put it last night, "If kids like it, you better look at it pretty hard to see what's wrong with it."