I remember being kind of cool to this Judy Blume book as a kid, but I might have been too old for it the first time I read it. Reading it now I have a greater appreciation for its portrait of a 10-year-old Jewish girl from New Jersey in post-World War II America. Sally is kind of dumb or naive, which is probably another reason I wasn't crazy about her as a kid, but as an adult I'm not quite as bothered. What really appeals to me is how Blume portrays the future writer, not by having her write a bunch in her diary, but by sharing her imaginative inner life. Blume identifies this as her most autobiographical work, which makes total sense to me.
The story, for those of you who care about such things, is about Sally's family (sans father but avec grandmother) moving to Miami Beach for one school year to benefit Sally's older brother, who suffered from a kidney infection. Sally misses her Dad, makes new friends, fantasizes about becoming a spy and a movie star, is suspicious about an elderly neighbor, and crushes on a boy. Reading this now, and contemplating tearing through a bunch more Judy Blume kids' books, I'm sort of amazed that I took her characters' Judaism in stride, and also their New Jersey upbringing. Blume grew up a few towns from where I spent part of my pre-teens, so I got to see my reality reflected back at me in her books. How cool is that? (Privilege!)