I somehow made it through adolescence without reading Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, or any other Judy Blume book, for that matter. I caught on pretty quickly to the idea that to be “girly” is to be vapid and shallow and not to be taken seriously, so I basically shunned any book that seemed remotely girly. I was into Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl and Alex Rider and Abhorsen and avoided books set in prep schools like the plague. I probably missed out on a lot of great books because of this. I certainly missed out on the pure gold that is Margaret, although, to be fair, I’m not sure it was really even on my radar in 2002.
And apparently I wasn’t the only one to survive middle school without having read Blume’s comforting words; a few weeks ago, when Kerry of Entomology of a Bookworm tweeted a confession that she had never read Judy Blume, a plethora of bloggers chimed in that they were ALSO Blume virgins. Thus, #BlumeAlong was born. Kerry invited bloggers to join her in reading Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret during the second half of June and The Summer Sisters during the first half of July. I probably never would have gotten around to reading Margaret on my own, and this was exactly the push I needed to finally read this coming-of-age classic.
You guys, I’m so glad I finally read this. I am totally kicking myself for neglecting to read this when I was 12. I loved the way it deals with everything from menstruation to friendships to religion, and I would definitely have related to the insecurities felt by Margaret and her friends. This book made my memories of confusion and excitement and bad information about reproductive processes come ROARING back.
I was also surprised by how fresh this book felt. Although it takes place 40 years before my own adolescence, it didn’t feel dated, aside from the specific feminine hygiene products mentioned. (However, I have to note that the version I read has been edited for modern times and doesn’t mention the belt, so I don’t know how much else has been changed.) Despite being young enough to have had the Internet (dial-up!) and AIM when I was in middle school, the social interactions between Margaret and her friends could have been mine (although the whole “you can’t wear socks the first day of school” thing was new to me).
My boyfriend’s sister is 12, and it’s fascinating to see the role social media plays in her life. (I am so incredibly thankful Instagram didn’t exist when I was her age.) I’m really curious about how she would relate to this book, and I might have to find an excuse to get her a copy! I’m sorry to have missed out on Margaret when I was 12, but it’s a book I’d love to share with young girls now that I’ve wised up.
Did you read Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret as a teen/pre-teen?
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