Judy Blume’s “Most Autobiographical Character”
Tablet – Sixty-five years ago this winter, in 1947, a fifth-grade girl found she was suddenly the new kid in school, longing for home and for people she knew. She had moved temporarily from the suburbs of New Jersey to the shores of Miami Beach with her mother, brother, and grandmother, who had lost relatives in Dachau just a few years before. Her father, a dentist, stayed behind in Elizabeth for work. His plan was to fly south for special occasions—Thanksgiving, for example, or birthdays. It took a while, 30 years to be specific, for the public to come to know this child’s story, and when we learned it, it was hard to forget, not least because the girl imagined that Adolf Hitler had likewise relocated to Florida, where he was living as an elderly Jew.