Race in Judy Blume’s “Wifey”: Part I

Matthew Teutsch
5 min readMay 26, 2024

When I was in elementary school, I read a few of Judy Blume’s books, specifically Superfudge. After matriculating, I didn’t even think about reading anymore of Blume’s books because, partly, I felt that I had outgrown them. Fast forward about thirty years, and a book club I’ve been attending read Blume’s 1978 novel Wifey, a novel that reviewers thought would tank her career because it is an adult novel about woman, Sandy Pressman, exploring her identity and sexuality while being confined in a marriage where her husband, Norman, wants her to conform to the ideals of the domestic housewife. Looking back on the novel in 2004, Blume wrote, “When I look at the book today, I can’t believe how fearless I was in my writing. I mean, all of thise sexual fantasies and escapades!”

There’s a lot to think about with Wifey, especially in relation to novels such as Kate Chopin’s The Awakening or other novels I want to read at some point such as Leila Slimani’s Adele. The discussions of Sandy finding herself apart from the pre-described roles that her mother, family, and husband have in mind for her is the center of the book. However, I don’t want to look at these aspects; instead, I want to look, similar to my exploration of Chopin’s The Awakening, at the ways that Wifey addresses race, notably since the novel takes place during the 1960s and early 1970s, and one scene right after John F…

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Matthew Teutsch

Here, you will find reflections on African American, American, and Southern Literature, American popular culture and politics, and pedagogy.