As Judy Blume reviewed her newest manuscript with her editor, she hoped she could finally relax. Recently, certain religious groups had condemned her books, criticizing her for writing graphically about family-life issues, such as divorce and puberty. Judy, though, refused to be muzzled because she knew kids benefited from the honesty in her books. Until today, her editor had agreed.
"Judy," he said with a sigh, as he put down his pencil. "Don't you want this book to reach as many readers as possible?" His question confused her.
"Of course," she answered automatically, but the look on his face worried her.
"Your critics will pounce on this scene and claim it's inappropriate. Let's take it out."
Judy felt her throat tighten. She leaned forward in her chair and spoke slowly, struggling to remain calm. "If we want teens to believe the main character, then this scene is crucial."
"Religious fundamentalists will attack it," her editor replied. "And then, librarians and teachers won't buy it. Book clubs won't take it. Your message will sit on bookshelves." He rubbed his eyes, feeling distraught but thinking he had no choice. "Eliminate this paragraph, and we avoid the problem."
Unable to defy her editor, whom she respected, Judy consented. But as she left the room, Judy vowed never again to compromise her artistic integrity.
Judy Blume has written 22 books, which have been translated into more than 90 languages. In 1981, Judy established the KIDS Fund, which has contributed $40,000 a year to nonprofit organizations that help young people communicate with their parents.