Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume, Yearling, 1970, 149 pp
THE SUNDAY FAMILY READ
Judy Blume is nine years older than I am. I did not read her books growing up because they weren't published yet. They would have helped me a great deal but by the time this one was published in 1970, I was married and having my first baby.
I decided to read this now because I have come to the part of my memoir where I need to write about my early awareness of sex and all that goes along with changing from a child to a teen to a young woman. I found myself very blocked and finally decided that early taboos about the discussion of these subjects were damming up my creativity. I'd heard that Judy Blume addressed these issues and thought maybe reading her books would help. It has!
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is not much about sex; it is about waiting for and finally getting that first period. It is also about family, friends, boys, and religion.
Margaret is eleven, almost twelve, and entering the 6th grade. She is an only child and has been brought up with no religion because her mom was Catholic, her dad Jewish. The marriage caused Margaret's mom to cut all ties with her parents. So big issue right there. Though her parents are fairly cool, Margaret feels she needs to learn about both religions.
That is all I am going to say because if you haven't read it, I would spoil it for you. It is a fabulous, honest, and open book about a girl growing up in America, full of humor and heartbreak. I think every 6th grade girl should read it but of course the book banners and challengers don't agree.
If you are a mom and your daughter wants to read it, I advise you read it first yourself and make your own decision. If you are a daughter and your mom or teacher or anyone tells you not to read it, you will have to make your own decision as well. All I can say is that I have found out lots of things no one would tell me about by reading books.
(Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is available in paperback on the children's shelves at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)