Nancy spoke to me as if she were my mother. “Margaret dear—you can’t possibly miss Laura Danker. The big blonde with the big you know whats!”

“Oh, I noticed her right off,” I said. “She’s very pretty.”

“Pretty!” Nancy snorted. “You be smart and stay away from her. She’s got a bad reputation.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“My brother said she goes behind the A&P with him and Moose.”

“And,” Janie added, “she’s been wearing a bra since fourth grade and I bet she gets her period.”

—Judy Blume, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, as quoted in Ten Authors Who Write Great Dialogue ( Meredith Borders, Lit Reactor). Borders’ column also features passages from Jeffrey Eugenides, Barbara Kingsolver and Elmore Leonard, among others.

Photo: New York Public Library, Flickr


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