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New York Times
15 Apr 2023

NextImg:The Enduring Appeal of Judy Blume and Gabriel García Márquez

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It’s been more than 50 years since the publication of Judy Blume’s middle-grade novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” a coming-of-age tale that has become a classic for its frank discussion of everything from puberty to religious identity to life in the New Jersey suburbs. Despite its grip on generations of readers, though, the book has never been adapted for film — until now, in a screenplay written by the director Kelly Fremon Craig and opening for wide release on April 28. To mark the occasion, our editor Elisabeth Egan appears on this week’s podcast and talks with the host Gilbert Cruz about the novel’s importance to her own 1980s New Jersey girlhood.

“For me, Judy Blume was one of those writers — and I know that all readers have them — who just explained the world and talked about things that we did not talk about in my family,” Egan says. “I loved her constant theme of moving to New Jersey, as my family did when I was 6 years old. Most of all, I really loved her books for young adolescents, especially ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’ It’s one of those books that I remember where I was sitting when I read it, and it kind of had a profound effect on my life.”

Also on this week’s episode, Miguel Salazar talks about the Nobel-winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, and offers his list of essential books for readers who are eager to approach García Márquez’s work but unsure where to start.

“He is a mammoth figure, not just across Colombia but across Latin America. He was the face of the boom in literature in Latin America in the mid- and late 20th century,” Salazar says. “García Márquez still today remains today kind of the point of reference for American readers, and a lot of readers across Latin America, to understand their region. I think he’s most people’s first author when they turn to the region to understand it through literature.”

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