Everything I Learned In Life Was In A Judy Blume Novel

I think it goes without saying that I have a love for all the reading.  Oh my word!  The reading!  I think I’d rather put my jammies on and crawl into bed early with a delicious book than do just about anything.  Voracious readers are like that.

I have always loved to read.  Always.  Since I first learned at the age of four.

(Because of all the brains that I have.)

(Even though Hubs asked me last night, “You just went to college for the boys, didn’t you?”)

(It’s because the boy said to me last night, “Factor 434 to the 5th power, Mom,” and I wanted to die a little inside and tell him, “Scrub the dadgum toilet, Boy!” in retaliation.)

(I think it’s relatively safe to say that verbs and nouns and dangling participles are my specialty, and that words like factor and 5th power make blood slowly trickle out of my ears.)

(Just give me a nice x + y formula, and let me solve for z.  I can plug numbers into an equation like a professional number cruncher, and your head will spin with all the amazement that you will have for my abilities.  And that’s pretty much where I bottomed out at math, and honestly?  I haven’t ever had anyone say to me, “Can you prove this geometry theorem in nine steps” since my sophomore year.  They tell you that geometry is something you need to know for life.  They lied.)

But really?  Back in the day there were books that changed my life.  I wanted to run away from home and live in a boxcar with my band of brothers and sisters, even though I didn’t have a big band of brothers and sisters, and even though living at home for me was as easy as Ward and June Cleaver made it seem on the old black-and-white television sets with the bent rabbit ears.  The Boxcar Children series made me happy.

And Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle made me howl with laughter.

And Harriet the Spy made me grab my own notebook and launch my own detective business which, sadly, saw very few customers.

And then…

…there was Judy Blume.  I think every young girl in ’80s America has been forever changed by Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret.  And Blubber.  And Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself.  Those books dealt with difficult issues in life, from getting your period (And there.  My male readers just closed this blog post down for the night.) to bullying to divorce.

Besides, carrying around a beat-up paperback copy of a Judy Blume book in the 6th grade made you as cool and as mature as every high school girl out there.  We were just sure of it.  We had our Farrah Fawcett hair.  We had our Jordache jeans.  We had our OP shirts.  (Which should not be confused with the OP that you can now buy at Walmart, because back in the day, OP was EXPENSIVE and COVETED and not sold at discount stores.  And you had to do a whole lot of babysitting to earn enough cash to buy an OP windbreaker, but SWEET MOTHER OF SYLVESTER THE CAT!  It was totally worth all the hours spent pushing little children in swings and making them peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches.)  We also had our Nike tennis shoes.  And we had our Judy Blume books, with the earmarked pages so we could show our friends, “Yes!  She really DID type a cuss word when she wrote this book!”

Because cuss words in books?  That was an absolute shocker when we were in the 6th grade.

Times were different, and we didn’t wear bike helmets, either.

Today, I’ll read just about anything, unless it has to do with science fiction or is a work of non-fiction dealing with electronics, electricity or automotive repair.  I think it’s a no-brainer that the NAPA Auto Parts industry isn’t putting out best sellers these days.

Nor have they in the past, come to think of it.

The sad thing is that since Thing 2 arrived, I haven’t had the TIME to read, because Thing 2 has thrown all of my normal sleep patterns under a bus, and we’ve had to start over, inventing what we now refer to as SEMI-NORMAL SLEEPING.  And I’ll tell you one thing:  When you are sleep deprived, there isn’t a Judy Blume book out there that will make you want to stay up any later than you have to.

But really?  This is what I’m currently reading right now:

I’m loving it, people, because John Grisham can WRITE.  He puts all of his periods in the right spots.  He uses the semicolon appropriately.  His sentence structure is stellar.  And I have always had a soft spot for good baseball movies and decent baseball stories in hardcover.

Of course, I have no expectations of actually finishing this book before Thing 2 is potty-trained, because it’s one of those I READ IT IN TWO DAYS sort of books, and I’m not quite halfway through it.

And it has been three weeks since I bought it.

My dad even borrowed it, read it, and returned it the next day, seeing as how I wasn’t actively using the book.

Plus, considering that I started The Hunger Games the week before Thing 2 was born, and then simply gave up on ever finishing it and saw the movie instead to find out how it all ended, I don’t think y’all should hold me accountable to give you a detailed book report until mid-October.

Of 2015.

And then there is the boy.

The boy began reading when he was four years old, too.  He reads incredibly well.  He reads at the post-high school level.  He can pronounce enormous words like hierarchy, optimize and regurgitation.  He can read something once and commit it to memory for life.  He has always been in the very highest reading group at school, and has, in fact, been sent to upper grades when he was a little mite, so that he could read books that were actually AT his reading level.


…he hates, loathes and despises reading.

He would rather be told to mow the yard on a sweltering day in the middle of August, while wearing a thick jacket made out of camel hair, than sit inside, in the enveloping arms of the central air conditioning unit, and read a book.

I know that he’s read the first three Harry Potter books from cover to cover, and that he has been working on the 4th one since he was nine years old.

(He’s eleven now, so it’s been a while, but heck!  It’s a thick book!)

And then he devoured The Hunger Games book.  DE-VOUR-ED it.  He read it, from cover to cover, in less than a week, which is a full-on record for him, because it captivated him.  I was convinced that this book and all the reading it was bringing about would draw the boy closer to a love for the written word on real pages, but alas.  It did not.  It was a one-time wonder.

(Exactly like the song “Three Little Pigs” by Green Jelly.  Never heard of them?  They were a one-hit wonder that only Hubs appreciates.  I think he was the president, vice president and treasurer of their fan club.)

(And also the only fan club member.)

And that, people?  Well, THAT is the entire list of books the boy has read for fun in his life.

Until this week.

Because the boy found a 544-page book entitled Professional Android 2 Application Development.  Clearly, it is riveting, because it’s all about writing your own apps for your Android phone, in case you can’t find an app for something you wish you had out of the 99 billion preexisting ones.  The chapters are captivating, too.  I peeked at the table of contents.

Hello, Android.

Creating Applications and Activities.

Creating User Interfaces.

Intents, Broadcast Receivers, Adapters, and the Internet.

Databases and Content Providers.

Telephony and SMS.

Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  And my brain is officially bleeding.

Hubs and the boy have been reading this book out loud together every night this week, and the boy can hardly wait until dinner is finished and the dishes are done, so that he and his daddy can sit down with the book.  Our child is reading for pleasure, people.  And apparently he is understanding it completely.

And that is why he asked me to factor 434 to the 5th power.

I asked him last night if he wouldn’t just like to read some nice Encyclopedia Brown books, and he shook his head of hair which was in desperate need of a haircut (But which is no longer in desperate need, because the boy announced, “I need a haircut!” with gusto this afternoon, and I pretty much turned the Suburban around on two wheels to head in the direction of the salon, before he could change his mind.).  Hubs said, “Bill Gates probably skipped Encyclopedia Brown books, too.”

I guess all this time Hubs and I were simply encouraging the boy to pursue the wrong genre.  We should introduce him to hardback books covering computer programs that will shape a nation like Windows did, cold fusion, quantum physics, advanced life sciences, matter and energy, HTML code, and how to design your own motherboard using nothing but a roll of Reynolds Wrap and a hair clip from your mother’s bathroom drawer.

Apparently the boy is going to grow up to be smart enough to earn many American dollars.  This translates into a FINE and EVEN DANDY and SPA-LIKE nursing home for Hubs and I in our old age.

And by then, Thing 2 will probably be old enough to actually sleep, so I’ll have time to finish my John Grisham book before the strained prunes are served for lunch.

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