Reading Judy Blume for the First Time

Posted July 2, 2015 by LeahAdmin in Reviews / 6 Comments

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on 1970
Pages: 160
Format: E-Book
Source: Purchased
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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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  • I missed the Judy Blume boat as a youngster, too, but I was really pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to relate to this, too. I had the early skeletons of AOL (not AIM yet, just creepy chatrooms) in middle school, but I think you’re right in wondering if this is still something that would feel fresh to teenagers today…or if they’d just wonder where the cell phones are.

  • I often think how glad I am there weren’t cell phones, twitter, insta, facebook, and so on when I was a kid. I too, had dial-up internet, AOL, and later AIM… imagine having to wait several MINUTES for internet connection, and maybe not even being able to get on if there were too many OTHER people already on! Ahhhh, those were the days 🙂

  • I’m a Blume virgin as well!! I missed the read along, but might give it a shot later this year after so many people said how relevant it still is.

  • I read this during adolescence, and pretty much anything Judy Blume I could get my hands on. When I saw the #BlumeAlong challenge, I realized I didn’t remember much of Margaret though, and I just purchased it for my Kindle yesterday (my library does not actually have a print copy which is shocking to me)! I can’t wait to reread this one!

  • Words for Worms

    I read this book as a tween and it holds a special place in my heart. We had a lot of Blume on our bookshelves, but Margaret is probably my fave. I am BEYOND grateful that the internet in its current form was not a thing when I was growing up. Facebook wasn’t even available at my university until right before I graduated so thankfully my undergraduate hijinks hasn’t been able to follow me…

  • I would love to hear what today’s 12-year-old girls think of Margaret!