Total score this weekend: I was at my local used bookstore and picked up a 1975 copy of FOREVER by Judy Blume for 25 cents. I actually squeed. Yes, the sound I thought I could never quite make burst from my diaphragm and scared the beejezus out of the poor kid behind the counter.
FOREVER was one of those life-changer books for me. In 1982, my progressive 6th grade teacher stuck it in the middle of a pile of more Catholic-school approved books she'd collected for me to read over Christmas break. The title intrigued me so I dug in. For a girl used to Nancy Drew's chaste kisses with her prepster boyfriend Ned, I was blown away. There's sex. Fairly explicit sex. A girl goes on the pill. A guy names his penis Ralph for heaven's sake. I think I read some passages twice (OK, maybe five or six times.), in complete shock. People were allowed to write about this stuff? I was barely allowed to acknowledge sex existed.
Judy Blume wrote about the things we were afraid to ask our parents about. Heck, my friends and I didn't even talk about sex with each other. I didn't necessarily feel more confident after reading FOREVER, but I definitely felt more normal. And, for a 12-year-old girl, that was pretty darn amazing.
So...which book changed your life?