First of all, Judy Blume is one of the most unintentionally hilarious entities ever, do you know what I mean? Maybe because of the age at which everyone reads her, or the fact that her subject matter grows dated in the funniest way possible: I remember being disgusted as a fourth-grader reading Judy Blume’s careful, tender description of having to attach a “sanitary napkin” to a belt in Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, and vowing at that ripe age of eight that I would always use tampons.
Then there’s the weird love she has for euphemisms. In (the terrible book) Forever, the young couple trying very hard to lose their virginities together decide that they are going to call his penis “Ralph“–of all the names, really–as to spare themselves the embarrassment of saying anything more sexual. This crops up in Summer Sisters as well: Caitlin and Vix call their own sexual arousal the “Power,” always with a capital P. These euphemisms are hilarious and kind of adorable, but in a gross way. Because while dear Judy is clearly trying to capture the shyness that all of her readers felt or feel about sex, I really find that sort of shyness pretty gross.
Summer Sisters is one of her few “adult” books, a distinction which makes no sense to me–it’s not written with any more sophistication or even any more big words. I guess the sex is “adult,” because it’s being had by adults–and it’s casual, which I suppose is inappropriate for children to read about or whatever. But like all of Judy Blume’s books, it’s super prurient and Lifetimey, and this one in particular has the pre-nostalgic emotional tinge of some of the worse scenes in Coyote Ugly or Center Stage. You be the judge of whether or not that sounds appealing.