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Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself [Hardcover]

Judy Blume
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Hardcover CDN $16.05  
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Book Description

December 1982
It's 1947, and Sally J. Freedman is full of wild ideas. She's got her eye on handsome Peter Horstein, the Latin lover of her dreams . . . on old Mr. Zavodsky, who looks suspiciously like Hitler in disguise . . . and on her father, who Sally misses terribly. There are so many things to worry and wonder about--but what ever happens, Sally's school year will certainly be exciting--and unforgettable.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7–The indomitable Sally J. Freedman proves her timelessness in this recording that is skillfully and charmingly narrated by author Judy Blume (Yearling, pap. 1986). It is 1947 and the imaginative Sally is 10 years old. Older brother Douglas has been sickly for some time, so the family moves from New Jersey to Miami Beach's warmer climate. Sally's beloved father stays behind to continue working as a dentist. The family is warmly and realistically portrayed. Mrs. Freedman's excessive caution and worrying clearly cause difficulties for her husband and children. The relationship between Douglas and Sally is not so warmly portrayed, with the usual sniping between siblings. Sally spends the winter making friends, getting into trouble, and trying to prove that an elderly man in their Miami apartment building is really Hitler in disguise. She frequently thinks about Ma Fanny's sister and niece who were both killed in Dachau. References to Jewish traditions are explained. Sally spends much of her time dreaming up stories in which she is a detective, movie star, or volunteer for American postwar efforts–and always the heroine. Blume's narration is spirited and perfectly paced. While she doesn't give each character a different voice, her tone differentiates them. Clearly there is much of Judy Blume in the main character and her affection for Sally shines through. The novel is as pertinent today as it was when first published, making it a must have for most libraries.–B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Who do you tell when you're certain that Hitler is alive, retired, and living in Miami Beach?

It's 1947, and Sally J. Freedman full of wild ideas. She's got her eye on handsome Peter Hornstein, the Latin lover of her dreams...on hold Mr. Zavodsky, who looks suspiciously like Hitler in disguise...and on her father, who Sally misses terribly. There are so many things to worry and wonder about. But whatever happens, Sally's school year in Miami Beach will certainly be exciting--and absolutely unforgetable. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Brought back memories Sept. 8 2010
By Andrea
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not just a children's book Aug. 7 2003
By A Customer
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 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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5.0 out of 5 stars A great Judy Blume book. July 8 2003
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Jude Blume at her best!
Read this book numerous times as a child. It's Judy Blume at her best.
Published on Feb. 27 2010 by Megan Calas
4.0 out of 5 stars Sally J is a star!
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. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2003 by Alicia Walker
2.0 out of 5 stars A Cute Book for the Younger Crowd....
Well, first off, I'll tell you that at 14, believe or not, this was the first Judy Blume book i've ever read. Read more
Published on June 14 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Exsiting Book
This is a very exciting book. When Sally moves to Florida she goes to a school that she absolutely loves because there is a boy named Peter that she really loves. Read more
Published on May 21 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Maura's review
This is a great book ! It was published in 1977 and I would give it a 10 out of 5 rating. The author is Judy Blume. The book takes place in 1945, right after the war. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book
In this book,which I really liked, I really connected with the girl, Sally, who grows up in 1947. She is 12 years old and says the wrong things at the wrong time. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2002 by a student
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was HORRIBLE!
It is really really really really bad! She (sally j freedman) is always talking about hitler and how he is going to skin her and bathe in her blood! Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Sally is the star of this 5 star book!
I first received this book when I was 9, it was a Christmas gift from my mother. I read that book so many times I destroyed it, but I never forgot it. Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2002 by "meg1014"
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Favorite Judy Blume Books
In the winter of 1947, 10-year-old Sally J. Freedman and her Jewish family (consisting of her parents; grandmother, Ma Fanny; and brother, Douglas) move to Miami Beach, Florida,... Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Story for anyone
The first 2 chapters you really get into the book. The book Is highly recomended in my mind. This is about a young girl who grows up in the Holacost or starts to. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2002 by Emily
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