When I was a child devouring Judy Blume's catalog, I remember seeing Wifey on my mom's bookshelf and being forbidden from reading it when I expressed completist interest in it. I vowed one day to read it and promptly forgot about that for years and years until recently. (Similarly, I still haven't seen the explicit strip club scene of Flashdance -- despite having seen that movie dozens of times, all my viewings took place in the early days of VHS while accompanied by an adult, who'd promptly cover my eyes whenever the...well, whenever whatever happened happened. I can't be sure because, again, I haven't seen it.)
Anyway, I did finally read Wifey and I urge anyone who's looking for a trashy beach read this summer to do the same. You will read it in five minutes and laugh the entire way through. Sexually unsatisfied yuppies in the suburbs say the darnest things! Blume wisely keeps the most outlandish bits confined to her character's dialogue (no-fault omniscience sometimes feels like a cheat, but here it just feels like the best way to tell a story about ridiculous people). She also doesn't let anyone off easy for their poor judgment. I love the way she writes with giant spaces for you to fill in (the fact that she doesn't get bogged down in description influenced me profoundly, for better or worse). It's so easy to read and never feels condescending. Also, the book is about a housewife who gets turned out after seeing a guy jump off a motorcycle in front of her house and jerk off (to completion!). (A starred-and-striped helmet is involved!) What's not to love?
Anyway, the best way I can advocate for picking this up without giving too much away is to list you some of my favorite sentences (and in some irresistible cases, my favorite sentence pairs). Here is your warning: they are naughty...or at least, that's the idea. This book is a product of a time when women talking about and being proactive in their search for sexual satisfaction could still be shocking. I know that things aren't perfect now, but girl talk about sex is now a channel in the cable box of our pop culture. That is to say that this book is largely divorced from the context that made it happen/shocking (/important?), and so taking sentences even further out of context only seems right.
- "That's why I douche with vinegar...cunt vinaigrette...to make it more appetizing...you know, like browned chicken."
- "Sandy hated her diaphragm."
- "She opened her legs a bit more, letting the hot sun warm her there, warming her all over...on her nipples...erect now...she ran her hand across her belly...fuck me...fuck me, sunshine...so delicious, as it crept up her legs, to her thighs, to her cunt...kiss me there...lick me...oh, please...oh, hurry..."
- "She'd had babies since then and masturbation took coordination, didn't it? Especially while driving."
- "And then he kissed her face and she tasted herself on him. And she liked it."
- "'Wear a Tampax and enjoy yourself!'"
- "So she wore just a Tampax under her new dress, insurance against leakage." ["Leakage" does not refer to her period, FYI.]
- "At ten, a five-piece band arrived, complete with electric guitar and bongo drums, something for everyone."
- "'I've always wanted you, Sandy...always loved your little ass...your cunt...every time I examine you I want it...want to kiss it...to fill it.'" (Note: "Examined" because this is a gynecologist speaking.)
- "'I can make my cock dance inside you.'"
- "As he inserted her diaphragm he whispered, 'So beautiful...sweetest pussy...'"
- "I fucked him but I do not covet him!"
- "'My little panda, my little bear, my mountain goat, my baby burro.'"
- "'It's all right, my little sparrow, my coyote, my wolverine, my lion cub.'"
- "'My little alligator, my sand shark, my turtle...and you can trust me...so why look further...'"
- "'My little kangaroo is hungry...hungry to fuck...'"
- "Should she put rouge on her nipples?"
- "A silky mushroom."
- "She laughed out loud, feeling giddy. Giddy with sex and adventure and love."
Honorable mentions in the form of phrases: "agonizing itchy pussy" and "denim pants."
Finally, I'm going to take this post as an excuse to tell my Judy Blume Twitter story. A while ago, she was on set of the upcoming Tiger Eyes movie and tweeting a lot about it. I was feeling particularly stupid one day and I tweeted, "I hope that @judyblume writes a sequel to Tiger Eyes called Tiger Eyes & Head, abt a girl with a tiger head coping with the loss of her dad." Judy then retweeted that, which impressed the hell out of me. I knew she was awesome, but I had no idea she had that good of a sense of humor about her work. I tweeted her about how happy that made me since she was one of my childhood heroes and then she started following me. And now we are married. Gay married. I learned that it's OK to be gay married from her book The One in the Middle is a Gay Dude Who's Married to the Author of this Book (A Woman).