Judy says: Thank you, thank you for all your wonderful notes. I only wish I could write back to each of you personally. But in order to start a new book I need serious thinking time, which means less time for e-mail. Hope you understand.
Just want you to know that my assistant and I read this guestbook every day, and try to respond when appropriate. Your continued love and support are a constant inspiration.
I feel as though I need to write you a proper letter, but if I wait for the perfect time to sit down and share all I wish to say, there’s a substantial chance life tasks and challenges will keep getting in the way. Perhaps one day, I’ll write something closer to the letter you deserve. For today, though, I wish to say this:
Although I’m in my fifties now, I’ve never forgotten the joy and comfort I found in your books when I was young. Enthusiastically, I read title after title, always eager to reach the end of the book yet a little sad when I did … because I never wanted one of your books to end. Back in those days, I was elated to find a biography of you. It quoted you as saying that you believed in being honest with children since what they imagined often was worse than the way things really were. This resonated with me so! I craved such forthrightness from adults. To this day, perhaps the quality I most cherish in a person is genuineness. This explains some of why—although we’ve never met—you are dear to me.
I just watched the film of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” It felt like home—not a home where I’ve lived but that deeply desired feeling of home in one’s heart. Thank you for providing this over and over as I was growing up and, through this film, again today.
With love and gratitude,
P.S. Seeing you in the cameo was a delightful thrill!
Your movie was exactly what I experienced growing up! Thank you for giving us a great night together! I am still feeding on all the emotions your story gave me! I finally know God is here with me & now I ask Him, “what do you want me to do?” Lollll Thanks again! Helen Michele
I don’t know exactly where to begin, but this feels simple enough: thank you. Thank you for being such a strong presence in the lives of so many readers for so many generations. Thank you for your advocacy and fight for the freedom to read and read what we want to read. For me personally, thank you for Summer Sisters.
Though I probably shouldn’t admit this, Summer Sisters is the one book for me that I don’t actually recommend to many, even though it’s by far my all-time favorite book. It feels a bit too personal to share with just anyone though, and that’s something I think Vix would understand as well. I read Summer Sisters for the first time in seventh grade when my best friend loaned it to me. I had never been so impacted by a book, tossing it across the room and almost refusing to finish it when the first chapter met us again in present day. Though I can predict every event, and even quote most of my favorite pages, it’s one I read every year during, you guessed it, summertime.
I finished my annual read a bit early this summer because I felt it necessary to have a fresh read before visiting Martha’s Vineyard for the very first time. This visit has been at the top of my bucket list for so long that I never thought I’d cross it off, but I did! My husband and I have been undergoing intense fertility treatments this year, and this was a present to myself from myself before beginning our first IVF treatment. Every time I stressed about the upcoming treatments, I knew I had my trip to look forward to first. Now that we are in the thick of the shots, bloodwork, fear, and hope of it all, my memories and pictures are still getting me through.
Even after all of the struggles this year, I got to be Vix for almost a whole week. Though sometimes I felt like every character — I was Tawny dipping my feet in the Atlantic, I was Abby visiting the island for the first time, I was Gus who needed to be by the water after all those vineyard summers. Once, when my husband let me lean into my dramatic side, I was even Caitlin pulling over at the Tashmoo Overlook just to pretend to question my entire upcoming marriage. I had breakfast at The Black Dog where I bought the most expensive baseball cap to remember that damn rehearsal dinner. I had lunch in Oak Bluffs, though I never could pin down the exact pizza restaurant — fini finis finito, Judy. I wondered if the National Treasure was working at The Flying Horses, and even spotted where they all saw Annie Hall. I stayed in East Tisbury, enjoying that sweet smell of pine amidst the beach air. I drove down County Road thinking of Lamb’s parents, while thinking of hitchhiking on Lambert’s Cove. I watched the sunset in Menemsha and again in Gay Head, wondering what Tawny thought of when she saw the cliffs of Aquinnah.
Without you, none of this would have been possible. The years of reading such a sacred text to me and so many others, the joy of rereading and getting to visit my favorite characters, friends after all this time. Visiting the island brought this world to life, and I will never forget it. Thank you for everything.
All my love,
i never read one of your books as a young girl, but one is never too old to begin. my cat, olive and i just finished reading ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET. i was completely enchanted, and the book held olive's attention, too. i am allegedly 72 years young, but i only admit to being 12. so i guess i read your book just in time to begin puberty (ha ha). anyway, i just wanted you to know that i am a great fan and will continue reading your books. and i will also read any banned books i have missed.
thank you so very much!
I know this is random, but something kind of hit me today. I was reminiscing about my parents going through their divorce back in 2001. And reading "It's Not The End Of The World" and using it as a vehicle to navigate the storm that is divorce.
Reading that came at such a critical time for me. I was 10 years old. Like most my age I was in baseball and had a love for all things sports. But reading that book specifically helped me more than swinging a bat ever did.
Now I'm 32 and have a wife, daughter and a mortgage. And if it wasn't for a book like that, I truly don't know if I ever would have even gotten married. So thank you for helping a 10 year old from Cleveland grow up during some painful times. Because now he's 32 and loves his family. I hope you read this, and hopefully it brightens your day. Thank you so much!
In the 5th grade I read Are You There God, available in my middle school library. It had such a profound impact on me that I decided 30 odd years later to purchase a copy for myself.
A few years later, to my disbelief, this treasure is being banned in schools. As we suffer global warming, fires,mass shootings,corrupt leadership, war and the degradation of rights..our once great nation focuses on banning books from beloved writers such as yourself..rather than putting energy into the real issues that plague our youth. I am saddened and shocked beyond words can express. I can only say thank you for being an inspiration to generations of young adults who will remember, cherish and circulate your works for generations to come. A quote I recently saw outside of a bookstore:
Live so that if your life was a book, Texas, Florida and Arkansas would ban it!
Much love and respect
Shana from VT
As a 47-year-old woman who has been deeply impacted by your spectrum of books, I decided I finally needed to send a note simply to say - Sally J. Freedman. Still (in my opinion) your best, your most impactful, your most wonderful character ever. Thank you for her.
Mother, Theologian, Teacher
Im in my early 30s now but grew up reading your books and loved them so much I did a project on them in 3rd/4th grade. My mom read your books when she was growing up too and loved them as well and we worked on that project together. I talked about your life and your books in a presentation and had a poster board with pictures of you and also made a board game with game rules and pieces and cards. My mom and I both recently watched your documentary and got to reminisce on each of our experiences of reading your books and of working on that project. Thank you for writing so honestly and compassionately and bravely.
I didn't know about your work around fighting censorship until I watched the documentary but thank you for that too. I'm queer and it feels quite dehumanizing to see people want to ban things that help you make sense of your self, like that beautiful graphic novel Gender Queer. Thank you for dedicating so much time and energy to the crucial work of people having access to important books like these and so many others.
Sending you love and gratitude from Tennessee,
Also i was wondering if one of your other books, Deenie and Forever will be made into movies or TV shows?
Thank you, just thank you… I cannot begin to describe my gratitude and appreciation for your bravery, careful consideration and thoughtfulness while creating and writing your books. I’ve always been a fan but recently I’ve hit a roadblock in my life. I quit my corporate job after 20 years and basically went into therapy, trying to survive and figure out my next steps. I have quite a bit of trama associated wity my family and father but I’m working through it. Anyway, you always gave me an escape and reason to read so that I could find myself, ground and be who I was truly meant to be. I love and appreciate you and hope someday I will get to meet you. Whenever I look at my face I’ll always remember, Freckle Juice and I will remind my little nieces the same. Thank you for your work, thank you for being real and thank you for just being you. Lots of love! Amber
If you are interested, I have amazing recall and would love to tell this story.
I wrote to you a few weeks ago. I am the teacher who wrote the song that greeted you at Battin in Elizabeth back. I am now working on writing and marketing musicals for children ( middle and high school). My collaborators and I are now beginning to market the show I co-wrote the songs for ( " It's Christmas Cara" based on Dickens " A Christmas Carole"). Even though the Dickens has been reworked many times I feel this is a version that will appeal to an audience hungry for solid songs and a good take on an old tale.
We would love to take on one of your books to create a middle / high school musical. Are you interested in hearing some of the songs we have for " It's Christmas Cara"?
All the best and congratulations on your current success, Stanley Schwartz
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