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Friday, October 21, 2011

"Are You There God? It's Me Margaret"

by Judy Blume, YR, 2001, c1970, 149p, rating=4

Margaret Simon, almost twelve, has just moved from New York City to the suburbs, and she's anxious to fit in with her new friends. When she's asked to join a secret club she jumps at the chance. But when the girls start talking about boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret starts to wonder if she's normal. There are some things about growing up that are hard for her to talk about, even with her friends. Lucky for Margaret, she's got someone else to confide in... someone who always listens.  (Goodreads)

During my short reading spurt back in late grade school, Judy Blume books were the books I read most.  I found the girlie stories to be relatable, adventurous, and fun.  I recall learning one particular thing that I know my mother would have never discussed with me.  That became my first experience in the power of books to educate.  Keeping that in mind, I will discuss that thing (and other uncomfortable things) with my daughter in due time or else she may pick up a book that might teach her incorrectly. 

Okay, now for this book.  Well, this was certainly a girlie story.  A bit of a look at what pre-teen girls think about and go through.  Namely, boobs, boys, social classifying, and menstruation.  Ms. Blume added a bonus by adding God into the scenario.  A really lovely and innocent book that young girls would be able to relate, women would find nostalgic, and men would get a glimpse at the stories behind the maxi pads, bra shopping, and secret meetings.

By the way, the mention of God was not to favor a specific religion but served as an outlet for Margaret to voice out her wishes and concerns.  Having parents from different faiths provided Margaret the conflict to wonder about the basis for an organized religion and whether she should commit to one.   This then introduced the involvement of grandparents and their strong set ways.  That whole three generation family relationship engagement was a subtle way of looking into the dynamics of religion.  It wasn't faith bashing but rather an honest view from a young mind.  Well done Ms. Blume!

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