Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are you There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume

are you there god? it's me margaret
judy blume
c. 1970
149 pages
completed 3/13/2011

read for: back to the classics challenge

*may contain spoilers*

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret.

Margaret is an eleven year old girl who moves to New Jersey with her parents. While her parents are determined to raise their daughter as neither Christian of Jewish, her grandparents are tugging her in both directions and Margaret can't decide which one she thinks she is. While dealing with this internal struggle, Margaret also has to navigate a new school and new friends all while trying to grow up.

I read this for the Back to the Classics Challenge (see sidebar) in the category of young adult classics, because I think this is often touted as like the ultimate young adult book. As such, I feel a little weird reviewing it (especially since I didn't love it), so this will be a short review. Somehow I missed Judy Blume when I grew up. I mean, I knew of her and her books, but I was always more of a Ramona Quimby or Alice McKinley girl myself. I think maybe that's one of the reasons I didn't enjoy reading Margaret more now that I'm older. I don't have any nostalgic blinders on. Like, my sister the literature scholar and I like to have dance parties where we jam to the Backstreet Boys. We used to love the Backstreet Boys when we were much younger and had questionable taste in music. Had Justin Beiber and the Jonas Brothers come out in the 90s when we were that age we'd probably love them too. But since they didn't and we're all grown up now and have still questionable exceptional taste in music, we can't judge them with our little girl brains. We judge them with our all grown up brains and know that our tastes are far too sophisticated for Justin Beiber (except that one really catchy song, and only because they sang it on Glee). So that's how I feel about Judy Blume. Had I read it as a young adult maybe I'd still think it was awesome. But reading it as an adult?

I felt like the issues raised never got resolved. Like her confusion about God and that fact that her new best friend was not exactly a very nice person. And I have to say, I never knew anyone who was 11 or 12 and was as obsessed with getting their period as the girls in young adult books. It was not nearly as big a deal as its made out to be. Neither I nor any of my friends used it as a marker of how grown up we were and no on I knew was super excited for it to happen, seeing as how when it's never happened to you it just sounds kind of gross and inconvenient. I think some good issues were raised in the book, things that are important to talk about with kids, but it ended kind of flat for me.



Sarah said...

I know I read this when I was younger, but have no strong memory of it at all. Mostly, I remember how dated the cover looked to me, even back then.

Veronica said...

I got it from the library and it had an updated cover on it (probably a newer edition), but the story itself was still pretty dated.