I was at the library last night with the kids, looking for books that my third grader will read (a daunting task), and I came upon all the Judy Blume books that I read back in the day. But there’s one that I never read, and I put it on my “Back to the Classics” reading challenge list this year as an alternate.
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret was deemed “too racy” for us to read when I was in grade school. It was in our school library, but none of us had the guts to check it out. One of my girl friends owned a copy and I remember giggling over the chant the girls did in the book … ‘We MUST! We MUST! We must increase our bust!”
One day, Chris S., one of the most popular kids in my grade, boldly checked it out and he and the other eighth grade boys read it on the playground as all of us girls huddled around in disbelief and embarrassment. I wish I hadn’t wasted half of my eighth grade year crushing on him – he was a jerk then and he’s still a jerk now.
But I digress.
Reading Are You There God now, as an adult, it seems comical to think that we were all so worked up over this book. First, as it was written in the 70’s, it seems extremely outdated. Second, the topics that may have been taboo back then, and back in the 80’s when I was growing up, are more freely discussed.
Margaret is a sixth grader who moves to a new school and becomes part of a group of girl friends called the PTS’s (Pre-Teen Sensations). They are all in a hurry to grow up, get breasts, wear bras, get their period, and discover the mysteries of kissing a boy. I wish I could make a guest appearance in the book and tell them that none of those things are what they’re cracked up to be (except the kissing a boy part, and even then, it’s not special unless there’s a spark – not some forced smooch in the closet at a co-ed party during “Two Minutes in Heaven.”). There’s something nostalgic about this innocence they all have – eleven year old girls today are way more knowledgeable about sex than they should be.
Definitely glad I finally read it, if for nothing more than to see how much things have changed even from when I was a kid. I also checked out a couple of other Judy Blume titles to take a trip down memory lane – and perhaps pass some of the more “PG” titles on to my son. He will not be reading this one, however!
[…] D. A Classic Children’s/Young Adult title – Are You There God, it’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume […]
Lol. I’m sure your son will never be anything like Chris S – he has you for a role model. I never knew where that chant came from (I’ve heard the chant, just never read this title!). It’s amazing how culture can change over a forty year period isn’t it? It’s nice to think that there’s still something relevant in a Judy Blume novel for today’s youth, but like you say, I’d want to tell these kids the truth: bras are a pain in the ass, periods suck and guys who leer are unattractive so a flat chest? It’s the way forward, lol. Also being a kid is WAY cool. 🙂