Monday, July 21, 2014

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

For a long time, I thought I had read Judy Blume. If you're a bookish kid, and I was, of course you've read something by her. As I got older, I thought about it, read about her books, looked at her catalogue, and realized that I hadn't ever read one of her books. How did that happen? How did I read, and read, and READ, and not one of those authors was her? As an adult, I wondered if I should fix that gap in my reading life, especially since I felt that in just a few years, this was the kind of book my daughter might be reading.

Then, the day after I had finished reading Slaughterhouse-Five, having NO idea what I should be reading next (big book hangover), there it was on a big book table, marked down... A children's classic missing from my life, on sale! It called to me and I took Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. home and started reading it the same day.

I could have easily read the story in one day. It’s not long; reading it in one day would have been a snap. The plot flows, follows Margaret along on her pre-teen adventure.  Moving, boys, breasts, and periods, what is the next disaster going to be?  I really sympathized with Margaret, thought she was crazy, mean, nice, and hormonal.  I related with Laura Danker.  I have known more than one Nancy. We have all learned the lesson that looks aren’t everything, but it’s hard to learn that at twelve.

There’s something about finding out a book is banned that makes me want to read it more too.  I’ve read so many articles and lists about banned books and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. is so often on them.  That was one of the reasons that if I were to only read one Blume, this would have to be the one.  I can tell why it was banned.  Periods and God.  No one wants to read about a girl trying to discover those two things.  Gross, right?  Also, blasphemous.  I actually thought that Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. is a great book to help a young person learn about those things.

The ending was the only thing I wasn’t completely happy with. It felt too open, there was too much left unsaid. It's not like I need books to wrap up every loose end, I just like books to feel finished. Maybe part of my problem was that there were about 20 more pages after the end of the story, previewing another of Judy Blume's books. I didn't know that, so I turned the page expecting more story. It was a very disappointing moment, and not the first time that has happen, when I saw what was on the next page. Please publishers, note somewhere that there's a preview of another book included so I'm not sad at the end. Thanks.

I am glad I finally read this book. It’s a modern classic, fun, sweet and something I’ll be recommending to my children and my friends’ children and anyone who hasn’t read it.  I know Blume has written books for adults, I’m interested now in reading one of those. If anyone is missing Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. from their reading lives, you should fix it.

4 comments:

  1. I read this as a young teenager and absolutely loved it. Blume captures Margaret's uncertainty about growing up and religion perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree. The questions Margaret has, the way she searches for answers, I thought it was fantastic.

      Delete
  2. I loved this book when I was a preteen, but didn't realize until I was much older how much of the book I didn't understand. But it still had a huge impact on me at the time about the confusion of adolescence physically, emotionally and socially. I had no idea it was a banned book until all these lists came out over the last few years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The more a book appears on a "banned" list, the more I want to read it :)

      Delete