This novel discusses subjects of importance to preteen girls, like kissing, bras, boys and menstruation Presence of religion, but no exasperating preaching Parents, gift this to your children.
As a side note, Margaret is the only girl I know who is excited about getting her period The way I see it, the longer the wait, the better Because blood, cramps and no white pants.
Margaret Simon, Almost Twelve, Likes Long Hair, Tuna Fish, The Smell Of Rain, And Things That Are Pink She S Just Moved From New York City To Farbook, New Jersey, And Is Anxious To Fit In With Her New Friends Nancy, Gretchen, And Janie When They Form A Secret Club To Talk About Private Subjects Like Boys, Bras, And Getting Their First Periods, Margaret Is Happy To BelongBut None Of Them Can Believe Margaret Doesn T Have Religion, And That She Isn T Going To The Y Or The Jewish Community Center What They Don T Know Is Margaret Has Her Own Very Special Relationship With God She Can Talk To God About Everything Family, Friends, Even Moose Freed, Her Secret CrushMargaret Is Funny And Real, And Her Thoughts And Feelings Are Oh So Relatable You Ll Feel Like She S Talking Right To You, Sharing Her Secrets With A Friend I was a little scrap of a white girl, growing up, and the daughter of Midwestern parents as well Mom and Dad were sheltered, small town people who had been relocated to the subtropics of South Florida and raised their children there Our family was an island of conservatism and traditionalism among an extremely multicultural sea.
Our quiet, casserole eating crew had very good manners, and spoke quietly, but we spoke not of feelings, and we deferred always to Dad s opinions In contrast, our Hispanic, Italian and Jewish neighbors spoke with their hands, and spoke over each other, often giving kisses and full bodied hugs as they did so.
I was attracted to the wildness of these neighbor s homes, and I always felt I d have developed of a voice there, among those boisterous dinner tables I knew I had an innate sassiness, but I didn t know how to make it emerge, or how to be authentic to my self.
When I was faced with early puberty, things became even challenging How do you tell a silent mother the changes that are occurring within your body, when you ve never even met her parents or heard a single story from her childhood and she is as cold and remote to you as the Statue of Liberty Well, here is where the school librarian once again saved the day by placing Are You There God It s Me, Margaret in my hands That woman always seemed to sense my love of books, my silence, and my needs.
And there she was Margaret Right when I needed her Margaret, the Every Girl, the nondescript, skinny white girl with brown hair who struggles with fears of inadequacy and invisibility amongst her peers So much about Margaret is tangible You do not doubt her existence for a moment, and her struggles with faith, family and her fluctuating figure fill her every day with hopes and fears.
Margaret is the only child of a Jewish father and a Christian mother who have denounced their religions as the only acceptable solution to raising a child within this dynamic Yet, Margaret s beliefs get lost in the shuffle She loves God and wants to connect deeply to the Source, but in searching for a deeper spiritual experience, she finds only people who want to manipulate her, to add to the head count at their places of worship.
I loved Margaret as an 11 year old, and when I introduced her to my 10 year old this week, I found my daughter felt exactly the same way It was weird nothing had really changed It was still life, adolescence, social politics, love and fear It turns out, angst has no expiration date My daughter, toward the very end of the read, wrapped her body around a pillow and said, Mommy, I love this book so much, it makes me feel almost embarrassed Ah, dang it And I thought I was going to get through this re read without tears.
Oh, how I do miss the 1970 edition of this book Somehow the cute little cover girl of the new edition, what with the sparkling eyes and her head in the clouds, doesn t express the loneliness and contemplative nature of Miss M in the same way the little girl with lank brown hair and brown knee socks did And how else can one completely alarm and overwhelm a modern 10 year old about the mysteries of the pubescent female body without the mention of the belt When I first read the book, not only was I terrified of getting my first period, especially at school, but I thought I at least had the basic mechanics down of all the necessary accoutrement After reading Are You There , a frantic me had to spend 20 minutes in a Walgreens, reassuring myself that this mythical belt contraption no longer existed, and was completely unnecessary And even then, it wasn t until age 12 that I was completely satisfied.
In 2006, they updated the book to include the mention of sanitary napkins instead of menstruation belts, and I somehow find that incredibly wrong Are You There is a phenomenal book, for Margaret s quest to understand the workings of the life around her inter religious household crazy relatives despondent fathers nutty friends and 15 year olds who are just too hot to handle , than for her journey through early pubescence But to fundamentally alter a portion of that journey seems a bit extreme So what if a curious kid wants to know what a belt is Most parents, even the young ones, can handle that question Even I can answer it now I just think Are You There was so much than the period episode It was deftly written than many adult novels I ve read We don t go scrambling to change every work that falls behind the times as far as cultural references are concerned, so why this one Women didn t start having periods in the 00s, and part of the beauty of the outdatedness of it all was that, for me after the shock and horror , it reminded me that I was connected to an incomprehensible number of women through history in this one tiny way And that felt good, as saccharine as that sounds.
I m feeling very nostalgic today I can still remember sitting on the floor in the library and reading this book One of my favorite authors when I was young If I didn t have so much to read I would read it again now Actually if I can find my box of old books I probably will read it again I LOVED this book Find all of my reviews at Eeks am I getting behind in posting reviews Are You There God, It s Me Margaret was my final selection for Banned books Week I was extremely hesitant to re read this since it was one of my childhood favorites I was terrified my trip down memory lane would wind up filled with potholes and other bumps in the road that would lessen my enjoyment Boy was I wrong I loved Margaret just as much now as I did back then Judy Blume was my go to gal back in the dark ages and her stuff amazingly stands the test of time Highly recommended to young girls at that awkward in between age when they aren t quite a kid, but not yet a woman Oh, and in case you live in a cave and have never heard of this book before, the subject matter that made it so controversial that young humans need to be protected from it snowflakes The first thing Margaret asks God is Don t let New Jersey be too horrible, so you know she s in for a rough time with God The second thing she asks for is boobs What makes Blume so wonderful well, there are lots of things, but one of them is that she respects her audience, which is specifically 12 year old girls and no one else She s tackling big subjects here puberty and God, so that s half of the entire list of Big Subjects and she respects their difficulty Margaret is the product of a mixed marriage her mom is Christian and her dad is Jewish and the big debate here is which God, if any, she will choose Her parents have left the decision to her, which she feels is bullshit If I should ever have children, she declares, I will tell them what religion they are so they can start learning about it at an early age Twelve is very late to learn And what I love is that by the end of the book, view spoiler she s made no decision whatsoever Blume doesn t offer pat solutions She just presents the problem hide spoiler
Isn t it pathetic that as a girl, once you learn about periods, you just can t wait to get one, and then for the rest of your life, you just wish the effers would go away Except of course, the periods that show up JUST when you need them to like when one is perhaps a few days late and not super confident in her decision making skills during the last month Those periods are probably even better than the satisfaction of that very first one.
During the final round in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup was asked this questionWould you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love Why or why notSupsup answeredIf I had to change my religious beliefs, I will not marry the person that I love Because the first person that I love is GOD who created me And I have my faith and my principles And these what make makes me who I am And if that person loves me, he should love my God too Thank youOf course, Supsup at 25, was expected to have a mature answer than the 11 y o Margaret Simon in this Judy Blume s born 1938 most popular novel Are You There God It s Me, Margaret.
Supsup was a architecture board exam topnotcher and a magna cum laude and Margaret was just a 6th grader.
But that beauty pageant question and the main conflict in this book are basically the same They both put on the table the value of religion in a person s life Supsup does not want to forgo her faith for love s sake Margaret is facing the dilemma on which religion to choose her paternal grandmother s or her maternal grandmother s Supsup is not willing to change her religion just to make her boyfriend happy Margaret cannot decide which religion to choose because she does not want to displease any of her grandmothers or her parents interfaith marriage eventually.
In the end, Supsup was crowned as 3rd runner up in the contest In the end, spoiler alert Margaret gets her first mens troo ation and she is so happy that she resumes talking to her god whoever it may be by uttering her innocent thoughts with this opening Are you there God It s me, Margaret blah blah.
spoiler ends I just stole this book from my 16 y o daughter s bookshelves Well, it is TIME 100 and that was my main motivation The secondary reason was that some of my GR Filipino friends will join me in my visit to my island hometown this weekend and this book could popup as a topic.
Did I enjoy reading this slim book As a father of a teenage girl, my answer is a resounding yes For most parts, as expected, I could not relate to Margaret s issues After all, this is a very girlie book as it deals with young girl s fears, first crush, new girl trying to fit in to her new school and her select friends whose mantra is to make their breasts biggerWe must, we must, we must increase our bustsBut, while reading Margaret s thoughts, if I try to imagine what my daughter went through or even still going through, I think this is a worthwhile book to read by any father with a daughter regardless of their age Our daughters don t come to us for advice regarding menstruation but we see the used pads in the garbage bin They don t ask us to accompany them in their shopping for bra and other apparels but we pay for them They don t normally tell us who their boy crushes at school are but we were ones those boys For those reasons, hey fathers read this book For one, I know that many young girls dream of becoming a Miss U but I did not know, until this book, that there could be young girls who because of their dream of having bigger breasts, had to compose and utter some kind of mantraWe must, we must, we must increase our bustsSo funny