Judy Blume Forever
An Uncensored Documentary of an American Icon
A Documentary Film Review
BY PAT BURNS
Having the opportunity to interview the two directors, Davina Pardo & Leah Volchok, about their documentary Judy Blume Forever was too good to pass up.
Available on Amazon Prime, Judy Blume Forever not only portrays her personal life and her enormously successful writing career, it also portrays decades of American life.
We follow Judy’s journey of growing up in the 50s – set during the sexual revolution of the 60s. We then move forward with her writing career in 70s, a challenging time for authors during the 80s censorship campaign. This brings us full circle to the current trend of banning some of our most beloved books.
The documentary illuminates personal stories shared by Judy and told in her own way. Now in her 80s, she shares them completely uncensored. Which is exactly what you would expect.
Even though I knew about Judy Blume books, I was older, focused on providing for my two daughters, when her popularity took off. Consequently, I missed the full obsession of the characters and plots in her 25+ books. My two daughters assure me now that they read all of them cover-to-cover!
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was her record breaking book placing her on the best sellers list for decades. This book also brings grandparents into the stories, as well as their relevance in the lives of their grandchildren.
“These letters are now being archived at Yale University…”
During the interview with directors Davina and Leah, we spent time discussing the thousands of hand-written letters featured in the film – letters that Judy received from children of all ages. Some of the letters are sweet and cute while others shared sad and painful stories, like a cry for help. The fact that Judy took the time to read them all, thousands of them, is astonishing. And even more unbelievable is that she wrote back to just about everyone.
Now fans use DM or Instagram with limited characters for their messages, messages that are posted for all the world to see versus a private, safe, one-on-one sharing from the heart. After learning of those letters and considering the current trends in communication, one has to wonder if letter writing is a lost art forever.
These letters are now being archived at Yale University along with her drafts of writings, printed material, audiovisual material, computer media, as well as personal and other documents.
More than 85 million copies of Judy Blume’s books have been sold, and her books have been translated into 32 languages, according to her current website.
Screened at festivals around the world, Directors Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok bring award-winning experience in both documentary shorts and feature films. Their talents are fully expressed in Judy Blume Forever.
Streaming on amazon Prime on April 21, 2023
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