Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume way back in the day, but I didn’t remember much about it at all. Since my memory sucks, I thought it would be a perfect choice for Banned Books Week reading. It is often challenged for questionable religious themes as well as for being sexually offensive. It is #60 on the ALA’s most challenged of the 90s list.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

I definitely enjoyed following along with the life of 11 year old Margaret Simon! Judy Blume is so great with realistic fiction. I could imagine myself fitting in with Margaret and her friends so perfectly at that age. From secret clubs to talking about bras to making lists of cute boys – that is a girl’s life in the sixth grade for sure.

One of my favorite parts of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is the religious exploration Margaret undergoes. One of her parents was raised a Christian and the other is Jewish. She explores the different options to see if one will fit her. It is not insulting or disrespectful in the least – it is the journey of a young girl who feels lost. It was a great way to highlight the perils of growing up and feeling the need to fit in.

While I obviously don’t find the book sexually offensive, I must admit to being familiar with the “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” chant. (Hey, I can admit that. It was a long time ago.) I also might or might not be guilty of listing boys in order of their cuteness with my friends (I will not disclose how long ago this allegedly occurred). Experiences like that make this book incredibly fun to read! It also made me want to call up my old elementary school friends and call them by their old secret club names.

The way the girls interact with and talk about their parents was also really great. They haven’t reached the real teenage rebellion stage yet, but they’re sure getting there. Margaret is close to her grandmother, who makes a few special appearances. I was also especially close to my grandparents growing up, so this was yet another case of HELLO MARGARET! YOU ARE LIVING MY LIFE!

Basically, if you are a girl and were at some point 11 years old, you should read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. You’ll get to take an incredibly enjoyable trip down memory lane.

Check out Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume on Goodreads / Amazon

Other Reviews:
The Relentless Reader
Book Journey
She Reads Books
She Is Too Fond of Books

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Charlie October 4, 2012, 4:22 am

    This book was one of the first middle-grade books I read, and I loved it, it was so different from the library at school. I can’t say I identified with Margaret as much as you did (my school was pretty boring I guess) but it was an interesting look at another’s life and the way people deal with growing up.
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  • Sheila (Book Journey) October 4, 2012, 6:17 am

    I think I am about due to read it again! Its funny to think of all the YA books now hat deal with these subjects and we dont even think about it – although some of those make the banned list too! 🙂
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  • April Books & Wine October 4, 2012, 9:13 am

    I love when Margaret and her grandmother go to the ballet at the Lincoln theater, ever since reading this as a kid, I’ve always wanted to go, at least once in my life.

    I remember reading this and wondering what the heck a period belt was hahahaha.
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  • Sarah (The Brazen Bookworm) October 4, 2012, 7:16 pm

    I love this book! I probably read it at least 20 times growing up. We all passed this book around in 4th grade and I remember feeling like I was *so* bad for reading it without my mom knowing. I was totally scandalized by the 7 Minutes in Heaven (is that what it was called??) scene. I loved her grandma, too, especially when she showed up with all the deli food because she swore you couldn’t get good deli food anywhere but NYC…that part always made me hungry.

    And I was like April – I was so confused by all the weird feminine products. >.<
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  • Bookworm1858 October 6, 2012, 1:15 pm

    I loved this book when I was a kid-definitely clicked with Margaret although I don’t really have much memory of her exploring religion. I remember one parent Christian and one Jewish but beyond that, I was much more hooked on what it would be like to be a “woman.”

  • Heidi October 8, 2012, 2:10 pm

    THE BIGGER THE BETTER THE TIGHTER THE SWEATER! Yes…I’m familiar with this chant as well. 😛

    I really need to cross this off of my list of books everyone absolutely must read but I haven’t list. I’m really interested in reading about her religious growth and questioning, and I think I’d actually understand this book better now that I’m actually aware of Jewish culture as well as Christian (I did not grow up in the most diverse place).
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  • Jackie G. October 21, 2012, 12:49 pm

    I love Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I read it at the perfect time too– the summer before I entered middle school. Margaret was experiencing a lot of the same things I was. I remember feeling for the first time that I could actually relate to a character I was reading about. A splendid feeling, really!
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  • Katie Cross April 6, 2014, 3:57 pm

    I read then when I was 10 or 11 and actually remember giggling when reading about the parts where she explains pads and periods. Truly, though, I think every young girl should read this one!
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