Judy Blume and Lena Dunham in Conversation


“A blank page is the cruelest thing known to humanity.”

Fellow reader Rebecca read this earlier in the month and was kind enough to provide a link to the PDF, so I was able to read it on my lunch break today in lieu of forgetting to bring a book (yes, I’m one of the poor suckers still stuck at work this week).

Most people know that I don’t have the highest opinion of Lena Dunham.  Or maybe I don’t have the highest opinion of Hannah Horvath.  I stopped watching Girls about midway through the second season, so while I lasted longer than Rebecca did at the show, I can’t say I enjoyed much of it.  It’s just another television show about four female friendships in New York City – Sex and the City but about people in their twenties rather than their thirties.  That being said, I was a long-time lover of Sex and the City (say what you want, I just wish they hadn’t made those movies) and have seen every episode at least twice.  But Girls just doesn’t do it for me.  The characters seem so entitled – yes, your twenties are a confusing time and you do some weird shit, but do you have to be so goddamn annoying about it?

My mom didn’t give me a traditional sex/puberty talk.  She found it easier to do it via my favourite thing – books.  She gave me some illustrated book about a girl’s changing body and what to expect from periods and stuff, and she gave me Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.  I must have reread that book about 16 times.  In my immediate group of friends, I was one of the first to get boobs, have my first period, and deal with hair in all the wrong places.  I couldn’t even say the word bra to the girls I had lunch with every day without feeling a deep sense of shame.  So Judy Blume was my lifeline into navigating what is probably the worst years of every girl’s life.

Lena Dunham is pretentious as hell and that comes through even in this interview.  Perhaps I’m too “in it” right now to really realize if she’s having a big impact on girls in our generation, or if she’s just part of the grander feminist movement that’s gaining traction.  But Judy Blume definitely changed a lot of things for girls and women, especially as writers writing about the female experience.  So it was interesting to see her insight about all of that, and how different it is to be a woman at 76 than a woman at 27.  I also enjoyed how the two of them described their writing process – Blume has a schedule where Dunham does not.  My best writing comes after two glasses of wine at 1 in the morning, but that’s impossible to schedule into daily life without facing total sleep deprivation at my day job.

It’s an interesting conversation to read, and it’s important to make mention that there’s a note at the end that says both women were allowed to edit their responses after the conversation occurred, before the conversation was printed.  I wonder what was edited.  I appreciate candidness and the stumbling of words from people you believe to be eloquent, so I think it would have been nice to have been a fly on the wall while these two women talked about everything and nothing.

Books read: 16


2 responses to “Judy Blume and Lena Dunham in Conversation

  1. Nice review. I also loved Judy Blume in my younger days, and just today got “Superfudge” from the library for my little girl (she’s not quite at the Are You There, God stage yet!).

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