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A Terrible, Horrible, Happy Birthday?

Jennifer Czepiel

Judith Viorst at National Book Festival

Celebrating Author Judith Viorst

A Terrific, Honorable, Very Good Birthday!

In honor of author Judith Viorst’s birthday we hope no one has a terrible, no good, very bad day. In case you do though, there is always tomorrow, and without the bad days we cannot truly appreciate the good ones. This is one of the many lessons that judith Viorst offered us in her children’s stories and through her amazing writing.

The amazing Judith Viorst is celebrating her eighty fourth year in Washington D.C., where she lives with her husband, who is also a writer. Her husband focuses on the political rather than the whimsical however. Over the years Judith has gone from being a journalist to a novelist to a psychoanalyst. While that last one may seem like quite the stretch, really, there is a fair amount of psychology to writing, and Judith wove the studies together very well. With the ability to tell stories that taught children, as well as adults, how to cope with the everyday, Judith Viorst counseled the young of a generation with words and stories of their fictional peers.

Judith Viorst is likely best known for her children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This book, written in the early 1970s, peeks into the life of a young boy, named Alexander, who always seems to be having no luck at all. We enter into his life understanding that it seems that every one of Alexander’s days is the same. Alexander is clumsy, a walking disaster, and very possibly a jinx. But, what about everyone else in Alexander’s family? They all seem quite blessed, well, until one not so fine day.

As Alexander sees his family going through all of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things that typically only happen to him, he learns something very important, and so do they. Sometimes there needs to be some bad days to truly appreciate the good ones. As Alexander and his family realise this they all experience something wonderful, growth and knowledge of self.

If that is not a serious touch of psychology and how to perceive your world in a different way in order to make things seem, not so terrible and horrible, I dare ask what is.  Judith Viorst’s deeply meaningful tale of Alexander and his family recently hit the big screen through the help of Disney in October of 2014. While it is a family comedy, I am certain that Judith hoped families also went home feeling connected by the deeper understanding of how to get through the tough times. If you have never read this book, it is never too late. Check out the film as well, comparing the two mediums of storytelling is always interesting.

In her years as a writer, Judith Viorst has also written several titles for adults as well, and these too can help us cope with the terrible, horrible, no good, and sometimes very bad things that happen as well grow up.

Happy birthday Judith! We hope it is one of the good ones!

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