In preparation for seeing Judy Blume in Toronto tomorrow, I have reread Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, an iconic book for young girls. Originally published in 1970, it has been a favourite of generations of girls. I actually found my original copy – purchased from a garage sale, dog eared and yellowed – and bought a new one, hoping for an autograph.
Judy Blume has a way of speaking to her audience and in this book, answering the questions about coming of age that girls want to know. Margaret has just moved to a new city and is going to a new school. The girl in her class have learned about menstruation and are anxiously awaiting their periods.
During the 6th grade, Margaret is contemplating religion, trying out churches and synagogues. As she discovers what her friends practice, she has an internal monologue with “God”. In the end, her experimentation becomes her year long project.
This was one of my favourite books growing up. Reading it again, it does seem a little dated for a new generation of girls – religion is not a prominent discussion and it is not questioned that many families are not actively religious. In relation to menstruation, I am not so sure that girls are looking forward to getting their periods – at least the ones I know! The products have evolved and an update with tampons would likely be helpful for this generation.
Overall, this is a wonderful book that I remember fondly. I am very excited to hear Judy Blume speak and to hear her talk about In the Unlikely Event. Judy Blume has a knack for having a conversation with her readers and addressing the coming of age issues that girls want to learn about but not necessarily talk about with adults!