Growing up, I was familiar with Judy Blume. One of my teachers read to our class Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing. On my own, I read her story of a young boy navigating puberty called Then Again, Maybe I Won’t. The writing in them was accessible and really connected with my young self. However, I never got around to reading Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. That is, not until my recent vacation.
The story is told in the voice of Margaret, a girl turning twelve. And she deals with all the normal things that young girls are challenged by. Among these are buying her first bra, figuring out the place of God in her life, navigating her changing relationship to boys and her female friends, and (eventually) getting her period. And these all feel genuine. They are told in a matter-of-fact way that is frank without being salacious.
Some may find that much of what modern girls deal with is missing. After all, this book was published in the early 1970s. But I would argue that is its charm. Because the things she deals with are universal, they are also timeless. Girls in any decade in the past or future will find something to relate to here and realize that they aren’t alone in their experience. Perhaps that’s why it has touched so many women over the last fifty years.
My rating: 3/5