Diary: Sinatra


Friday, May 15

Toronto—I turn on the TV and learn that Frank Sinatra has died. I adore Frank’s music and get weepy over breakfast. Pack my bags, do a series of phone interviews from my room, then one last radio show from 1:30 to 2PM, before leaving for the airport.

Get back to our apartment in New York about 7PM. Haven’t seen George for eight days. I collapse on the sofa. So much to catch up on. Later, we walk over to our favorite restaurant. It’s like a date after finals.

Saturday, May 16

Frank’s death means my appearance on the Weekend Today show will be taped, not live, as they are doing a tribute to him. I get to sleep an hour longer, until 7am, then watch the show and the tribute from home until it’s time for Vicki to pick me up.

Home for a few hours before Vicki returns to accompany me to the Bennett Book Nook in Wyckoff, N.J. where I will be signing from 3-4PM. It’s close to 90 degrees and sunny and Vicki and I both think people will be too busy just enjoying the weather after almost a week of rain to come to a book signing. We agree not to be disappointed. Maybe we’ll get back earlier than planned and George and I can go to a movie.

We have a driver who is so crazy we’re convinced we’ll never make it to the bookstore. He’s a tailgater and his foot is heavy on the brake. He has no idea where he’s going and when I ask if he has a map so we can see where we are he pulls over, gets out of the car, opens the trunk and returns with a box of them, all pristine and apparently never unfolded. “He keeps his maps in the trunk?” Vicki whispers. She navigates and we make it to the Book Nook fifteen minutes early but already there’s a long line. We’re thrilled!

I get right to work. These are my readers. Young women who grew up on my books, women whose daughters grew up on them, women who read Wifey and Smart Women, and children who are reading my books now.

The first person on line introduces herself as Carol Reo, then reminds me she was the publicist who traveled with me twenty years ago when Wifey was published! She and Vicki have a lot to talk about.

Another woman introduces herself as Barbara Sperber, who babysat for Randy and Larry. She has a teenaged daughter.

So many reunions!

Almost three hours later I’m told I signed two hundred copies of Summer Sisters and who knows how many children’s books. A signing like this makes it all worthwhile. It’s not the number of books sold as much as it is the interaction with my readers. I’m always touched by their loyalty and support. And today, no one seemed in a hurry, though I’m sure they were.

I can’t believe this small independent bookstore managed to bring in so many people. I’d do anything for them. Before we leave I sign another fifty copies of Summer Sisters for readers who missed the signing.

As Vicki and I are saying goodbye a lovely young woman comes into the store. Turns out to be the model whose face is on the latest edition of Forever

When I get home I conk out on the sofa and sleep for an hour. George and I eat tuna sandwiches for supper, then I go to bed.

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This has all the directness, perceptiveness and emotional tension one would expect from Blume but taken one step further, proving that life at 30 can be just as difficult as life at 14. Great summer holiday entertainment…
—Publishing News

I just finished SUMMER SISTERS and it is absolutely fantastic!! It brought back all kinds of memories of things I did with my own “summer sister”, and I even called her last night!
—Barb, Milwaukee, WI

Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming back to us; your former little girl readers who are all grown up now. Every reason I loved reading your books 15 or more years ago still ring true now! I’ll be re-reading Summer Sisters until your next one comes out, over and over again, until its pages are dog-earred just like my copies of Tiger Eyes, Forever, and all the rest.
—D.G., Ridgefield, NJ