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Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself Hardcover – Dec 1 1982


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Hardcover, Dec 1 1982
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Juv) (December 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0027110702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0027110708
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)


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By Andrea on Sept. 8 2010
Format: Hardcover
One of my reading goals this year was to reread some my old favourites. I read my share of Judy Blume books way back when and Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself (along with Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret) has stayed with me. I was curious how the story would hold up over time and if I'd still be able to appreciate what I loved about it the first time.

The story is set in 1947, when Sally is ten years old. The Freedmans ' Sally, younger brother Douglas, their mother and grandmother - relocate from New Jersey to Miami so that Douglas can recuperate from an illness. Sally has to negotiate a new home, a new school, new friends, a tense relationship with her mother, missing her father, and spying on their elderly neighbour whom Sally is convinced is really Hitler is disguise. With all of this going on, it's no wonder I always remembered this book being much thicker than it actually is!

The thing that struck me most in rereading this story is how dark it actually is when you're old/mature enough to realize what all of the subtext is referring to. Sally's grandmother has relatives that were killed in Dachau, Sally often plays games of make-believe where she is a spy in Germany on a mission to capture Hitler, and in the snippets of phone conversation between Sally's parents, an adult reader will recognize that there are more serious issues in their marriage than the kids are led to believe. I don't think any of these things are necessarily inappropriate for younger readers, though I do think that if I was a parent, I'd want to be aware of these topics and be prepared to discuss them with my child if they came up.
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Format: Paperback
Read this book numerous times as a child. It's Judy Blume at her best.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent read. I enjoyed Sally and her overactive imagination. I learned a lot--I was quite young when I read this--about the time period. Blume handled Sally's fears well. The Yiddish of her grandmother added a nice touch to the book as well. Blume is excellent in this genre. A great book
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By A Customer on Aug. 7 2003
Format: Paperback
Much like Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Starring Sally J. Friedman contains a portrait of an era. The novel contains more than mere descriptions; I could actually feel what it was like to live in Miami right after World War II. Sally's neighborhood, the school, the beach...all were so perfectly created that I felt that I was there, spending time with Andrea and Shelby along with Sally.
Probably the descriptions in this novel are so apt because this is largely an autobiographical tale. I read that Judy Blume really did spend one school year in Miami with her mother, brother and grandmother, and that many stories contained in Sally J. Friedman really happened to Judy Blume.
The novel realistically addresses true concerns and fears concerning adolescence. While most people no longer worry about one of their neighbors turning out to be Adolph Hitler, children often fear things that they learn from newspapers. Their understanding of current events is often one-sided and uninformed, as they are shielded from all the facts by well-meaning adults. They fill in the gaps with their imaginations. Additionally, kids and adults alike have concerns about fitting in, keeping and making friends, and mortality.
I especially enjoyed Sally's relationship with her mother and father. Her mother is a worrier...to the point that she lets much of the joy in life pass her by. Her father is more free spirited, and tries to explain to Sally why her mother behaves the way that she does. One beautiful scene in the novel occurs when Sally's dad explains that one can worry so much, that they don't enjoy what they have when they have it. Sally struggles to be more like her father, while appreciating the concerns and motivations of her mother.
While this book paints a picture of an era, it contains smart prose and human insight that is timeless. As all good historical fiction does, it teaches us something about the past while involving us in a story that is universal.
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Format: Paperback
I used to read many of Judy Blume books as a teenager, but this book together with Blume's "Deenie" have remained dear to me till this day, around 20 years later. I think there is something about this book that is able, so I feel, to address young readers and adults alike. I will not write about the content as so many people have done so before me, just about my thoughts concerning this book.
Sally is looking at the adult world with open curious eyes, not always able to understand grown ups and the grown-up world. The adults in the book, on the other side, are so much better understood by me today, their characters (so well defined) and their efforts to try and raise their children according to the best of their knowledge and what they deem important in life.
This book is dear to me for many reasons. First of all - the characters are so Jewish I immediately feel its close to home. I am talking about the ever worried mother, the constant haunting of the holocaust, the conversations, the Yiddish expressions... and especially my favorite character in the book which is Ma Fanny, the lovely grandmother. I love this book because of the adults efforts to build a sheltered world for the kids who are, as the mother and grandmother say "all my life" and thus sometimes protect them too much from the outside world. Because of the good yet real family relationships ("you are worth a million...more even"...) and the accurate portrayal of the family life. Sally is such a funny lovable character and her inner portrayal is rich and trustworthy.
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