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Judy Blume’s Sally J. Freedman Miami Tour

Author takes fans behind the scenes of her 1977 book with a virtual tour

Stephanie Butnick
November 17, 2014

Readers of Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, Judy Blume’s 1977 book about a young American girl growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, were likely drawn into Sally’s world within the book’s first few pages. The book tells the story of the 10-year-old, who moves with her mother, brother, and grandmother from a New Jersey suburb to Miami Beach in 1947, where she becomes consumed by the idea that Adolf Hitler may have also relocated to sunny Florida and is living as one of her neighbors.

The book vividly portrayed Miami in the late 1940s, where Sally’s troubles and triumphs were enmeshed with her surroundings. Now, thanks to WLRN’s Alicia Zuckerman, you can dive right into Sally’s world with an audio tour of Miami narrated by Blume herself.

Blume, whose latest project is a novel for adults, shares stories with Zuckerman both about Sally J. Freedman’s world and her own (Blume, who grew up in Miami Beach and now lives in Key West, regularly tweets about her life in South Florida).

As Sara Ivry pointed out in 2012, Blume has called Sally her most autobiographical character: “Like Sally, Blume had a vivid imagination and lived in Miami Beach as a young girl. As was true for Sally, the horrors of the recently ended World War II provided a backdrop for her youth.”

Listen to Blume’s charming audio tour below, and follow along with interactive maps at WLRN.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.