Somehow, I missed the memo as a preteen that I was supposed to read and identify Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I read some of her other books, but this one somehow slipped through the cracks. I saw Blume speak a few years ago at a festival and mentally put the YA novel on my wish list (for the record, it's the only YA book on there) but, once again, overlooked it. I finally picked it up this summer after grabbing her newest adult novel, In the Unlikely Event, and seeing other bloggers, like Rory, revisit this classic. So, I decided I'd read about twelve-year-old Margaret for the first time at thirty-one.
One thing that stood out to me the most was the lack of technology. I loved it! These kids had to work at finding out if someone liked them- they couldn't just jump on SnapChat. They had to use house phones and look people "in the book." They experienced boredom. They had to go outside and run in the sprinklers to cool off instead of streaming a movie on Netflix in the air conditioned indoors. Oh, and they use encyclopedias for school work (and to look up male anatomy, naturally). It's all so endearing and refreshing.
Another thing that struck me was Margaret and her friends' extensive conversations about boobs and periods. Maybe it's just me and my total disgust with bodily functions, but I never ever remember talking about those sorts of topics with anyone when I was that age. It's probably a good things I have a son.
I did love how religion was handled in this book. Margaret's parents aren't practicing, since their parents had conflicting ideas about such topics before they married, yet she is still very interested in religion and embarks on a school project to invest her options. Honestly, after reading this I decided that everyone should wait until they're an adult to pick their religious path. So often people are Catholic or Methodist or whatever because that's how they were raised and haven't really thought about it for themselves. But anyway, I digress.
It was a super, super quick book that I read in snippets while keeping one eye on the kid. It was nice to see what all the fuss is about, but I'm guessing I'd feel a little more warm and fuzzy about the whole thing if there was a nostalgic factor for me, which there is not. I do think this is still a great book for the ten-twelve crowd, though!