Tonight’s review is of Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.
image courtesy of images.scholastic.co.uk
What it’s about (from the publishers): 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. But when the girls start talking about boys, bras and getting their first periods, Margaret starts to wonder if she’s normal. Not only does she seem to be a late developer, but there are things about growing up that she finds hard to talk about, even with her friends. Luckily for Margaret, she’s got someone else to confide in… someone who always listens.
Holly’s review: Wow. I love this book. It is amazing for girls my age and above. It is about all these girls who are competing about puberty. The main character is Margaret and she hasn’t started puberty yet which makes her feel worried and distressed wondering if she will ever start and she doesn’t want to be late, that’s a definite.
I know this book sounds all girly and weird but it’s not, it’s actually really great. And it is brilliant for girls at the age of puberty because it makes you understand more about what’s going on inside your body. But don’t worry it’s not all facts, it is still a story. Judy Blume tends to base a bit of her books around her and her family. I don’t know why – she just does. Maybe I should ask her.
I like book because … I don’t know why. I don’t see anything not to like about it. It is funny (sort of) and I don’t know… it’s just great to read. A few more things to add to this review is that the cover is incredibly girly but the book isn’t so don’t pay any attention at all to the cover.
Sam’s review: Before I say anything much, I will just qualify what Holly has said about the cover. For ages she was determined not to try Judy Blume because the recent repackaging of the books made her think that they would be all about make-up and fluffiness (not that she doesn’t like those kind of things!). I had suggested Blume’s books because she was starting to hear about puberty at school and talk about it all with her friends so thought she would find these books interesting – I remember devouring them when I was her age. Once we got past the cover (and boy, did we ever battle over that!), she couldn’t get enough of the book. And as soon as she had finished this book, she immediately started over again, separating herself from us at mealtimes so she could sit on a rug in the garden, in the recent heatwave, to read the book and occasionally eat (when reminded).
The cover used over here in the UK is therefore our biggest criticism of this book. Many of the previous ones were, I feel, more interesting and potentially appealing to all sorts of girls, rather than catering to the pink, fluffy brigade. The version I read had this cover:
image courtesy of covercafe.com
I always admired her hair, probably because mine was short!
Anyway… I loved re-reading this book with Holly, when I could wrestle it from her grasp. Even though it was 30 years or so since I read it, I remembered it vividly and enjoyed all the pre-teen angst and curiosity within it. It was funny in places too and I didn’t feel, reading it again, that I had outgrown it even. (I would love to read about middle-aged Margaret – perhaps with a new chant ‘I must! I must! I must firm up my bust!’) Judy Blume manages to write about what every teenage girl thinks and feels in such a way that it’s like listening to a friend. It never feels preachy nor do you get the impression that you are being subtly told how to feel or think and it deals with a staggering amount of topics – puberty, first bras, first crushes, female friendships, moving house, religion. It’s an all-in-one book on most of life’s major changes, missing out only on death and losing a job.
Since reading and re-reading this book, Holly has moved on to other ones by Blume, including Deenie, Blubber and now Here’s to You, Rachel Robinson, which she has nearly finished. I expect we will be getting more reviews about these sometime soon. In the meantime, I am enjoying revisiting Judy Blume and experiencing a second pre-adolescence!
Which Judy Blume book is your favourite and why?