Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2019 JANUARY READ – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Published January 31, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

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 belong.

But 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 crush.

Margaret 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.

What did I think?:

Where on earth do I start with this book? First of all, if you’re new here at bibliobeth hello, welcome and thank you so much for reading! Just to let you know I have two main gods author wise in my reading life. Well, to be fair I do have quite a few but if we’re comparing them to Zeus and Hera of Mount Olympus (the top dogs, for all you non-Greek mythology fans), Stephen King would be my Zeus and Judy Blume would be my Hera.

Chrissi and I read her middle grade book, Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing last year for our Kid-Lit 2018 challenge and I had such a delicious nostalgia trip that when the time came to pick our list for this year, I gently persuaded her we should pick another Blume. She didn’t need too much persuasion as she is my beloved sister after all, but I swear I could hear her roll her eyes via text message!

Now, it’s always a worry when you pick a childhood favourite and read it as an adult that it won’t live up to expectations and with Judy Blume, she has her OWN gigantic shoes to fill so I have to admit, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t love it as much. However, I had nothing to fear, it was such a wonderful trip down memory lane and made me remember everything I originally loved about it as a young adolescent.

Judy Blume, author of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

Of course, reading this book as an adult was quite a different reading experience in general. When I first read this as an innocent young girl, I identified so strongly with Margaret. During the tumultuous time of puberty when your hormones are going haywire and you perhaps don’t have access to the best or most accurate sex education, Blume and her character Margaret were absolute godsends to me. I learned brand new information that I hadn’t been taught either at school or at home yet and for the most part, I got the desperately needed answers to feed my curiosity about boys, bras and periods.

One of the things that I admire most about Blume as an author though is the way she taps perfectly into the minds of pre-adolescent/adolescent girls, gives them an important voice and reassures them that all the things they are thinking and experiencing are positively normal and nothing to be afraid of. Her honesty and sensitivity in forming a narrative that has spoken to millions of young people across the globe is refreshing and for this reason, she will always remain such a crucial part of my childhood.

Hera, Queen Of The Gods aka Judy Blume??

Re-entering the world of Margaret as an adult was such a strangely rewarding experience, coming back to it with all the adult knowledge and life experience that I now have. At some points it was lovely, other times odd and frankly, a few times embarrassing to remember my teenage self and how I felt about things whilst growing up and becoming a woman. I remember vividly taking on board a certain “exercise” that Margaret and her friends used to do (complete with the infamous rhyme) in desperation that it would take effect and make me grow up that little bit faster! Cringe. Additionally, I also appreciated how Blume explores other avenues in the narrative, like female friendships, the importance of a strong, supportive family and one of the major elements of the story – a crisis of faith. She isn’t afraid as an author to explore those subjects that others might shy away from to give teenagers the answers they crave or indeed, to let them know that it’s okay to be unsure and indecisive about other things.

The fiction of Judy Blume will always have a special place in my heart and I’m sure will prove relevant to generations further down the line than myself who are struggling with difficult issues and want to know they are not unusual or alone. I’m already considering which Blume I can coax Chrissi to put on our list next year? I don’t want to ever get off this nostalgia train!

For Chrissi’s fantastic review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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COMING UP IN FEBRUARY ON BETH AND CHRISSI DO KID-LIT: The BFG by Roald Dahl.

20 comments on “Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2019 JANUARY READ – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

  • I reread this last summer and as you say, it’s a different experience through adult eyes. I loved and identified with the grandma this time. When I bought it with money from my grandma, I wrote her a thank you note telling her I used the money for this book. She was thrilled I was reading about a girl talking to G-d because she was very religious. So she bought it too! Now I realize why she liked it beyond the title and religious aspects. 😊

  • You have certainly inspired me to re-read this one, Beth! I just bought a Judy Blume box set. 😂 I wish I had the originals from my younger days, but I think I read this one from the library. I think I only owned some of the “Fudge” books. Wonderful review, and you’ve certainly described beautifully just why Judy Blume is so special. I don’t remember any other author at the time going out on that limb to normalize our feelings and also empowering us at the same time. LOVE HER. Xoxo

    • Ohhh I love that you’ve bought a box set! I’ve got most of hers on Kindle but when I reduce my book collection (if I ever do 😂) I’m seriously considering buying a set for my favourite shelves. She is one of a kind isn’t she? Meeting her was such a jaw dropping moment for me! 😍

  • I loved this book so much when I was a preteen! I was just saying the other day how much I couldn’t wait to reread it with my daughter when she’s a few years older (definitely not at 8, lol). It will be a fun adult reread and fun to see it through her eyes! ❤ Wonderful review!!

  • Fantastic review Beth!! You took the words right out of my mouth more than once here! I was kind of nervous to read this one as an adult. I was afraid it would ruin my love for it. So incredibly thankful it only enhanced my love for this book as well as the author.
    I have been pondering which one to read next. If you had to pick one today which one would you choose?
    I keep changing my mind, but right now I think I would read It’s Not the End of the World.

    • Aw thank you so much Tina that’s so kind. I’m glad you felt the same way! Hmm if I had to pick another one now? Deenie I think! I was really affected by it as a youngster and have a slight spinal problem myself. Can’t wait to read more! 😁

      • That is a good one too! Her books are amazing and have touched so many. It is something quite special to be able to connect with a book like that!
        I think I will have to reread them all!

  • Oh how wonderful to revisit this one! ❤️ I think it’s only now that I’m really able to appreciate (and articulate) Blume’s genius, in that she wrote for pre-adolescent and adolescent girls on their level, without ever coming off as condescending. It’s a really tough thing to do, I think, but she pulls it off in spectacular fashion. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, doll! 😉

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