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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

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Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She’s just moved from New York City to Farbook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends—Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret is happy to belong.

But none of them can believe Margaret doesn’t have religion, and that she isn’t going to the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don’t know is Margaret has her own very special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything—family, friends, even Moose Freed, her secret crush.

Margaret is funny and real, and her thoughts and feelings are oh-so-relatable—you’ll feel like she’s talking right to you, sharing her secrets with a friend.

149 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1970

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About the author

Judy Blume

183 books10.5k followers
Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We're Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written three novels for adults, Summer Sisters; Smart Women; and Wifey, all of them New York Times bestsellers. More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-one languages. She receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her.
Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year the American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Other recognitions include the Library of Congress Living Legends Award and the 2004 National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
She is the founder and trustee of The Kids Fund, a charitable and educational foundation. She serves on the boards of the Author's Guild; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; the Key West Literary Seminar; and the National Coalition Against Censorship.
Judy is a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom. Finding herself at the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980's she began to reach out to other writers, as well as teachers and librarians, who were under fire. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with the National Coalition Against Censorship to protect the freedom to read. She is the editor of Places I Never Meant To Be, Original Stories by Censored Writers.
Judy has completed a series of four chapter books -- The Pain & the Great One -- illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson. She has co-written and produced a film adaptation of her book Tiger Eyes, and is currently writing a new novel.
Judy and her husband George Cooper live on islands up and down the east coast. They have three grown children and one grandchild.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,862 reviews
Profile Image for Erin.
9 reviews52 followers
May 4, 2007
I first read this book in kindergarten. After getting into an argument with the PTA lady running the school book fair about whether or not I could buy the book (I thought she was trying to imply that I couldn't read it, which I found insulting) - an argument that was ultimately settled by a call home to my mom - I brought the book home and read it all on a Friday night. Up past my bedtime, I snuck downstairs, where my parents were entertaining friends, and announced that I had a question about what a period was. Without missing a beat, my mother said "The dot at the end of the sentence." Patronized again, I cried, "I know what that kind is. I'm talking about the kind Margaret doesn't get until the end of the book!"

This is the stuff family legends are made of. Beyond that, it's a great book, but I sure am glad I don't have to use the contraptions Blume describes within as my feminine hygiene products of choice. Belts? Garters? Yikes.
Profile Image for Stina.
176 reviews1 follower
March 10, 2009
Isn't it pathetic that as a girl, once you learn about periods, you just can't wait to get one, and then for the rest of your life, you just wish the effers would go away? Except of course, the periods that show up JUST when you need them to- like when one is perhaps a few days late and not super confident in her decision-making skills during the last month. Those periods are probably even better than the satisfaction of that very first one.

Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,983 followers
February 5, 2020
What a powerful little book. Sure, it is a coming of age story about a pre-teen girl in the late 1960s, early 1970s, but it feels like a story with lessons and ideas that are important to everyone in any era. I can see why this is on many must read lists.

Simply written – it can be read in one or two sittings. This is a great thing for those looking for a quick and entertaining read in the midst of a busy schedule. No great commitment is required to get through this one. And, you may find more content in 150 pages than you sometimes get in 400 to 500 pages!

Another important element of this book that is very applicable to everyone today is the pressures Margaret goes through – social, religious, relationships, etc. She just wants to live, but people are filling her head with lies and arguments that make it difficult for her to make decisions for herself. All it does is make her miserable. This reminds me of how some people seem to be willing to treat others today (especially with the anonymity of the internet). While it isn’t everyone, it seems like many people like to force their opinions down people’s throats and make them feel bad about their own feelings. Those people don’t consider – or don’t care - how this makes others feel. It makes me very sad! And, it made me very frustrated for Margaret!

Side note related to the comment above: The key plot of the story is Margaret trying to decide which religion she wants to be – if any. I was reading online that this book has been censored and banned in some places because of its take on Christianity. As a Christian myself, this is ridiculous – and the behavior of the Christians in the book is ridiculous. No one should be made to feel bad about exploring what feels comfortable to them and, if they decide one thing over another, that is their choice and no one else’s business. The way she is treated in this book I am not surprised she responds the way she does!

I recommend this book to everyone. I think it will teach us all a lot about how we should treat each other, and it is a good reminder that we are all human, no matter what our differences are.
Profile Image for Julie G.
895 reviews2,919 followers
August 19, 2019
I was a little scrap of a white girl, growing up, and the daughter of Midwestern parents as well. Mom and Dad were sheltered, small town people who had been relocated to the subtropics of South Florida and raised their children there. Our family was an island of conservatism and traditionalism among an extremely multicultural sea.

Our quiet, casserole-eating crew had very good manners, and spoke quietly, but we spoke not of feelings, and we deferred always to Dad's opinions. In contrast, our Hispanic, Italian and Jewish neighbors spoke with their hands, and spoke over each other, often giving kisses and full-bodied hugs as they did so.

I was attracted to the wildness of these neighbor's homes, and I always felt I'd have developed more of a voice there, among those more boisterous dinner tables. I knew I had an innate sassiness, but I didn't know how to make it emerge, or how to be more authentic to my self.

When I was faced with early puberty, things became even more challenging. How do you tell a silent mother the changes that are occurring within your body, when you've never even met her parents or heard a single story from her childhood and she is as cold and remote to you as the Statue of Liberty??

Well, here is where the school librarian (once again) saved the day by placing Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret in my hands. That woman always seemed to sense my love of books, my silence, and my needs.

And there she was. . . Margaret. Right when I needed her. Margaret, the Every Girl, the nondescript, skinny white girl with brown hair who struggles with fears of inadequacy and invisibility amongst her peers.

So much about Margaret is tangible. You do not doubt her existence for a moment, and her struggles with faith, family and her fluctuating figure fill her every day with hopes and fears.

Margaret is the only child of a Jewish father and a Christian mother who have denounced their religions as the only acceptable solution to raising a child within this dynamic. Yet, Margaret's beliefs get lost in the shuffle. She loves God and wants to connect more deeply to the Source, but in searching for a deeper spiritual experience, she finds only people who want to manipulate her, to add to the head count at their places of worship.

I loved Margaret as an 11-year-old, and when I introduced her to my 10-year-old this week, I found my daughter felt exactly the same way. It was weird; nothing had really changed. It was still life, adolescence, social politics, love and fear.

It turns out, angst has no expiration date.

My daughter, toward the very end of the read, wrapped her body around a pillow and said, “Mommy, I love this book so much, it makes me feel almost embarrassed.”

Ah, dang it. And I thought I was going to get through this re-read without tears.
Profile Image for Tina.
540 reviews918 followers
June 20, 2023
My absolute favourite Judy Blume book!

My Personal Challenge Childhood Re-Read for the month of November

I can safely say this is still my favourite Judy Blume book! I started out reading my own copy. I just love that nostalgic cover! Brings back a lot of memories. I was curious how the narration would be and a quarter way through I checked out the Audio on the Cloud Library app. It was a quick and entertaining listen.

I remember relating to Margaret Simon a lot when I first read this. She was 11 going on 12 and starting to enter puberty as I was.

This book is so much more than about puberty though. I probably didn't fully get that when I first read it. She's a girl just wanting to be herself and her head is filled with questions. So she talks to God about her fears when she's feeling overwhelmed or misunderstood. One parent is Jewish and the other raised a Presbyterian and they've left the decision to Margaret as to what religion she'd like to embrace. She's finding it difficult to choose and feels a lack of belonging. To top it off her family has recently moved from New York City to New Jersey. So a new school and new friends adds to her anxiety. She's a likeable girl though and the same problems still exist today so I think it's a relatable book still. Although a little dated I personally loved the nostalgia of it. While Margaret talked for hours on the phone after school to her friends or talked about wearing a "slip" with her dress it really brought me back to my childhood and some wonderful memories of friends.

Still a brilliant book that's worthy of 5 stars+
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
October 13, 2011
During the final round in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup was asked this question:
”Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love? Why or why not?”
Supsup answered:
”If I had to change my religious beliefs, I will not marry the person that I love. Because the first person that I love is GOD who created me. And I have my faith and my principles. And these what make makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God too. Thank you.”
Of course, Supsup at 25, was expected to have a more mature answer than the 11-y/o Margaret Simon in this Judy Blume’s (born 1938) most popular novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Supsup was a architecture board exam topnotcher and a magna cum laude and Margaret was just a 6th grader.

But that beauty pageant question and the main conflict in this book are basically the same. They both put on the table the value of religion in a person’s life. Supsup does not want to forgo her faith for love’s sake. Margaret is facing the dilemma on which religion to choose: her paternal grandmother’s or her maternal grandmother’s. Supsup is not willing to change her religion just to make her boyfriend happy. Margaret cannot decide which religion to choose because she does not want to displease any of her grandmothers or her parents (interfaith marriage) eventually.

In the end, Supsup was crowned as 3rd runner up in the contest. In the end, *spoiler alert* Margaret gets her first mens-troo-ation and she is so happy that she resumes talking to her god (whoever it may be) by uttering her innocent thoughts with this opening Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret… blah blah.*spoiler ends*

I just stole this book from my 16-y/o daughter’s bookshelves. Well, it is TIME 100 and that was my main motivation. The secondary reason was that some of my GR Filipino friends will join me in my visit to my island hometown this weekend and this book could popup as a topic.

Did I enjoy reading this slim book? As a father of a teenage girl, my answer is a resounding yes. For most parts, as expected, I could not relate to Margaret’s issues. After all, this is a very girlie book as it deals with young girl’s fears, first crush, new girl trying to fit in to her new school and her select friends whose mantra is to make their breasts bigger: ”We must, we must, we must increase our busts." But, while reading Margaret’s thoughts, if I try to imagine what my daughter went through or even still going through, I think this is a worthwhile book to read by any father with a daughter regardless of their age. Our daughters don’t come to us for advice regarding menstruation but we see the used pads in the garbage bin. They don’t ask us to accompany them in their shopping for bra and other apparels but we pay for them. They don’t normally tell us who their boy crushes at school are but we were ones those boys. For those reasons, hey fathers read this book. For one, I know that many young girls dream of becoming a Miss U but I did not know, until this book, that there could be young girls who because of their dream of having bigger breasts, had to compose and utter some kind of mantra: ”We must, we must, we must increase our busts." So funny :)))
Profile Image for Nataliya.
781 reviews12.4k followers
June 24, 2023
On the surface there should have been little in common between eleven-year-old me (mid-90s, lower middle class in the post-Soviet landscape of broken-down economy, dressing in cheap “humanitarian aid” clothes and seeing the US on TV as an almost mythical land of wealth and sparkle) and eleven-year-old Margaret Simon (1970s upper middle class suburbia of the US New England).

But being an eleven-year-old girl is its own country, with its own rules and built-in challenges, and it crosses the cultures and decades easily. And although the particular issues Margaret faces may not be the same (an early developer, I got the much-desired by Margaret “bust” and periods by that age and hated it, wanting to be a carefree kid for a bit longer instead of biologically growing up, and religion has never been anything occupying even a fraction of my preteen mind), the others do not change — friendships, societal pressures, growing into your own person bit by bit — all those are basically the same.

I haven’t read this book as a kid but first as a young adult and now again a bit less young, and still the recognition of the strange country of being eleven persists.

And, unlike so many books aimed at this age group before and after, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret is refreshingly free of preachiness or moralization, not focusing on teaching any sorts of lessons — except maybe that life can be both simple and very complicated at eleven, and it’s wonderful.

4 stars, and I highly recommend watching the recent movie as well which (and I’m about to be struck by metaphorical lightning as I dare to say so) not just captures the magic of Judy Blume’s book but actually manages to give it even more heart.

(My only gripe — why is there a missing comma in the title? I’m assuming little Margaret has not learned enough grammar yet).
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
July 24, 2021
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume

Margaret Simon is just eleven, going on twelve, when her family moves from New York City to Farbrook, New Jersey.

Margaret's mother is Christian and her father is Jewish.

Margaret has been raised without an affiliation to either faith, and does not practice an organized religion, although she frequently prays to God in her own words, beginning by saying, "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret."

She is beginning to feel uncomfortable with her lack of a religious affiliation.

For a school assignment, she chooses to study people's religious beliefs, hoping to resolve the question of her own religion in the process.

Part of her study involves attending different places of worship to better understand religious practice and also to see if one of them might be right for her.

She enjoys spending time with her Jewish paternal grandmother, Sylvia Simon, who loves her as she is, and hopes Margaret will embrace Judaism after taking her to her synagogue for Rosh Hashanah services. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهاردهم ماه آوریل سال 2016میلادی

عنوان: خدایا آنجایی؟ منم، مارگارت؛ نویسنده: جودی بلوم؛ مترجم: مهری محمودی؛ تهران: نشر قطره‏‫، 1394؛ در 141ص؛ شابک9786001198144؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م‬

کتاب «خدایا آن‌جایی؟ منم مارگارت» نوشته «جودی بلوم»، نویسنده ی کتابهای کودک و نوجوان، است؛ داستان این کتاب درباره ی دختر دوازده ساله‌ ای به نام «مارگارت» است، که با پدر و مادرش از «نیویورک»، به حومه‌ ی شهر نقل مکان کرده اند، و «مارگارت» برای پیدا کردن دوستتان تازه و سازگاری با محیط استرس دارد؛ «مارگارت» در خانه ی تازه، با دختری به نام «نانسی» دوست هم میشود؛ «نانسی» و دیگر همکلاسی‌های «مارگارت» یک گروه چهار پنج نفره را تشکیل می‌دهند، که «مارگارت» هم در آن عضو است؛ این گروه ماجراهای عجیب و غریبی را رقم می‌زنند؛ در این داستان «بلوم»،‌ دغدغه‌ های دختران نوجوان، در سن بلوغ را به خوبی بیان می‌کند، و شیوه‌ های برخورد با این مشکلات را، شرح می‌دهند؛ دغدغه هایی که شاید هیچگاه در موردشان حرفی زده نمیشود؛ «جودی بلوم» در این کتاب به مسئله ی مذهب و خداپرستی پرداخته است؛ «مارگارت» نسبت به همسنهای خودش یک تفاوت دارد، و آن این است که به هیچ مذهبی تعلق ندارد، چون پدرش «یهودی»، و مادرش «مسیحی» است، و او با اینکه در زمینه ی مذهب، خودش را «هیچکس» معرفی میکند، در پی یافتن «خودش»، و «خدا» است، و در زمانها گوناگون و ساعات شبانه روز، با خدا راز و نیاز، و نجوا میکند، که خدا یاریهای غیبی‌ اش را از او دریغ نکند

نقل از کتاب «خدایا آن‌جایی؟ منم، مارگارت»: (1: خدایا آن جایی؟ منم، مارگارت؛ امروز اسباب کشی میکنیم؛ خدایا خیلی میترسم؛ خدایا تا حالا هیچ جای دیگری، به جز اینجا زندگی نکرده ام؛ اگر از مدرسه ی جدید بدم بیاید چه؟ اگر آنهاییکه آنجا هستند، از من بدشان بیاید چه؟ خدایا لطفاً کمکم کن؛ نگذار «نیوجرسی» خیلی وحشتناک باشد؛ متشکرم؛ ما روز سه شنبه ی قبل از روز کارگر، اسباب کشی کردیم؛ از لحظه ای که بیدار شدم میدانستم هوا چه طوری است؛ میدانستم، چون دیدم مادرم زیر بغلش را بو میکند؛ او همیشه در هوای گرم و مرطوب همین کار را میکند، تا مطمئن شود هنوز بوی دئودورانتش نرفته است؛ من هنوز دئودورانت استفاده نمیکنم؛ فکر نمیکنم افراد حداقل تا قبل از دوازده سالگی بوی بد بدهند؛ پس هنوز چند ماهی وقت دارم؛ زمانیکه از اردو برگشتم، و فهمیدم که آپارتمانمان در «نیویورک»، به خانواده ی دیگری اجاره داده شده است، و اینکه ما صاحب خانه ی دیگری، در «فاربروکِ نیوجرسی» شده ایم، خیلی متعجب شدم؛ اول اینکه، هرگز در مورد «فاربروک» چیزی نشنیده بودم؛ دوم اینکه معمولاً در تصمیمات مهم خانواده، نادیده گرفته میشوم؛ اما وقتی که اعتراض کردم: «چرا نیوجرسی؟» به من گفتند: «لانگ آیلند» یک شهر خیلی اشرافی، «وستچستر» یک شهر خیلی گران، و «کانکتیکات» شهر نامناسبی است؛ پس، تنها جایی که پدرم میتوانست هر روز به محل کارش در «منهتن» رفت و آمد کند، و من میتوانستم به مدرسه ی دولتی بروم، و مادرم میتوانست گل و گیاه، و درختانی را که همیشه میخواست داشته باشد، «فاربروک نیوجرسی» بود؛ فقط اینکه من هرگز نفهمیدم چرا مادرم به اینها بیش از هر چیزی اهمیت میداد؛ خانه ی جدید در خیابان «مورنینگ برد» است؛ خانه ی بدی نیست؛ قسمتی از آن آجری، و قسمتی دیگر چوبی است؛ پنجره ها و در جلویی، سیاه هستند، یک کلون برنجی خیلی قشنگ هم روی آن است؛ خانه های خیابان جدیدمان خیلی به هم شبیه اند؛ و آنها همه هفت سال ساخت هستند، و درختان هم هفت ساله اند؛ فکر میکنم شهر را به خاطر مامان بزرگم «سیلویا سایمون» ترک کردیم؛ دلیل دیگری برای این اسباب کشی نمیتوانم پیدا کنم؛ مخصوصاً چون مادرم میگوید: «مادربزرگ نفوذ بسیار زیادی روی من دارد.» در خانواده ی ما از کسی پنهان نیست، که مادربزرگ، مرا به اردوی تابستانی، در «نیوهمپشایر» میفرستد؛ و اینکه او با کمال میل، شهریه ی مدرسه ی خصوصی مرا میپردازد (کاری که از این به بعد دیگر انجام نمیدهد، چون به مدرسه ی دولتی خواهم رفت)؛ حتی ژاکتهایی برای من بافته، که برچسبهایی درون آن دوخته شده و روی آن ها نوشته است: بافته شده توسط مادربزرگ...؛ فقط برای تو؛ او این کارها را به خاطر این که فقیر هستیم انجام نمیدهد؛ میدانم که فقیر نیستیم، البته ثروتمند هم نیستیم، ولی حتماً به اندازه ی کافی داریم؛ مخصوصاً که من یکی یک دانه هستم؛ همین خودش خرج غذا و لباس را کم میکند؛ خانواده ای را میشناسم که هفت فرزند دارند، و هنگامیکه به فروشگاه کفش میروند کلی خرج روی دستشان میگذارد؛ مادر و پدرم تصمیم نداشتند که من تک فرزند باشم، ولی شرایط برای اینکار جور نشد، و این به نفع من بوده است، چون کسی دور و برم نیست که بخواهیم با هم دعوا کنیم؛ در هر صورت، فکر میکنم که این اسبابکشی به «نیوجرسی» هم، نقشه ی والدینم برای دور کردن من از مادربزرگم است؛ او ماشین ندارد، و از اتوبوس متنفر است، و فکر میکند که همه ی قطارها کثیف هستند؛ پس چون مامان بزرگ گزینه ای به جز پیاده آمدن ندارد، که این هم غیرممکن است، من او را زیاد نخواهم دید؛ حالا بعضی از بچه ها ممکن است فکر کنند، دیدن یک مادربزرگ چه اهمیتی دارد؛ اما «سیلویا سایمون» با توجه به سنش که اتفاقی فهمیدم شصت ساله است، خیلی شوخ و سرحال است؛ تنها مشکل این است که همیشه از من میپرسد: «آیا دوست پسر دارم و آیا او یهودی است؟» حالا خنده دار اینجاست که اولاً دوست پسری ندارم و ثانیاً اینکه چه اهمیتی دارد که او یهودی باشد یا نباشد؟)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
16 reviews2 followers
January 31, 2008
Oh, how I do miss the 1970 edition of this book. Somehow the cute little cover girl of the new edition, what with the sparkling eyes and her head in the clouds, doesn't express the loneliness and contemplative nature of Miss M. in the same way the little girl with lank brown hair and brown knee socks did. And how else can one completely alarm and overwhelm a modern 10-year-old about the mysteries of the pubescent female body without the mention of the belt?

When I first read the book, not only was I terrified of getting my first period, especially at school, but I thought I at least had the basic mechanics down of all the necessary accoutrement. After reading "Are You There...", a frantic me had to spend 20 minutes in a Walgreens, reassuring myself that this mythical "belt" contraption no longer existed, and was completely unnecessary. And even then, it wasn't until age 12 that I was completely satisfied.

In 2006, they "updated" the book to include the mention of "sanitary napkins" instead of "menstruation belts," and I somehow find that incredibly wrong. "Are You There..." is a phenomenal book, more for Margaret's quest to understand the workings of the life around her (inter-religious household; crazy relatives; despondent fathers; nutty friends; and 15-year-olds who are just too hot to handle), than for her journey through early pubescence. But to fundamentally alter a portion of that journey seems a bit extreme. So what if a curious kid wants to know what a belt is? Most parents, even the young ones, can handle that question. Even I can answer it now!

I just think... "Are You There..." was so much more than the period episode. It was more deftly written than many adult novels I've read. We don't go scrambling to change every work that falls behind the times as far as cultural references are concerned, so why this one? Women didn't start having periods in the 00s, and part of the beauty of the outdatedness of it all was that, for me (after the shock and horror), it reminded me that I was connected to an incomprehensible number of women through history in this one tiny way. And that felt good, as saccharine as that sounds.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,419 reviews4,482 followers
August 20, 2017
The first thing Margaret asks God is "Don't let New Jersey be too horrible," so you know she's in for a rough time with God. The second thing she asks for is boobs.

What makes Blume so wonderful - well, there are lots of things, but one of them is that she respects her audience, which is specifically 12-year-old girls and no one else. She's tackling big subjects here - puberty and God, so that's half of the entire list of Big Subjects - and she respects their difficulty. Margaret is the product of a mixed marriage - her mom is Christian and her dad is Jewish - and the big debate here is which God, if any, she will choose. Her parents have left the decision to her, which she feels is bullshit. "If I should ever have children," she declares, "I will tell them what religion they are so they can start learning about it at an early age. Twelve is very late to learn." And what I love is that by the end of the book, this is hard, isn't it? she says.

She does this throughout the book. Margaret's new best friend Nancy is a mean girl. Blume doesn't exactly tell you this, and there's (arguably) no character arc. She's just there, kindof a bitch. Blume drops hints that the sixth-grade teacher is harboring inappropriate feelings for early-developing Laura Danker, but she leaves it to the reader to decide how seriously to take them. Most dramatically, Margaret's maternal Christian grandparents arrive for a reconciliation, after disowning their daughter when she married a Jew. You expect some resolution; This is hard, right?

But look, no one even remembers any of this shit. What you and/or your girlfriend remember about this book is that it's the first one that talked about boobs and periods, and this is why Judy Blume is one of the great heroes of literature: she takes growing up seriously, which is important because growing up is serious business. Blume doesn't talk down and she doesn't moralize. She wrote this way back in 1970, in the olden days when peoples' dads subscribed to Playboy magazine, and she's still one of the most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century because she dared to approach topics like periods. (And sex and masturbation and other marvelous things.) It's a seminal work for generations. My wife got all giddy with nostalgia when I told her I was reading it.

Which, like, I mentioned that Blume is writing solely for 12-year-old girls, and you might wonder what it's like for a 42-year-old man to read this. Probably not though, because literally who cares, but I'll tell you anyway: it's awkward. On the one hand, we enlightened men should be well past being freaked out by periods, right? And on the other hand, there's a heavy social taboo against adult men being in any way interested in training bras, and some of the reasons for it are good. Let's just say that I often label my Kindle so people on the subway can tell what I'm reading, and this time around I chose not to. And let's also reiterate that no one cares what I think about Judy Blume.

What matters is that, 50 years on, her voice is still clear, universal, non-judgmental, invaluable. "I wanted to be honest," she says. "And I felt that no adult had been honest with me. We didn't have the information we should have had." Here is the honesty and the information. God will not increase your bust and neither will that chant, as Judy Blume is willing to prove in the most likable author interview ever. And New Jersey is horrible.

If you are a parent:
There's nothing objectionable in this book. I'm alert to dated gender roles and old-timey bigotry, a la the unfortunate "darkey" poem in Little House in the Big Woods, and there's nothing like that here. You're all good.

If you are a kid and your mom won't let you read this:
Your mom sucks. Read it under the covers with a flashlight, or whatever kids use for light these days. Welcome to literature.
Profile Image for Deanna .
687 reviews12.5k followers
August 31, 2016
I'm feeling very nostalgic today.

I can still remember sitting on the floor in the library and reading this book. One of my favorite authors when I was young.

If I didn't have so much to read I would read it again now. Actually if I can find my box of old books I probably will read it again. I LOVED this book :)
Profile Image for Whitney Erwin.
199 reviews
February 19, 2022
One of my favorite books ever when I was younger!! I bought it for my daughter and she loved it too. I think I may re-read it this weekend.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,152 reviews56 followers
April 8, 2018
For Margaret, the growing up years are starting off with a myriad of changes. She moves to a new city, attends a new school, makes new friends, maintains a close relationship with her Grandma, and grapples with her lack of a defined religion all while navigating the complexities of the pre-teen years. Margaret is on the cusp of adolescence and all she wants is to fit in and be “normal”.

Judy Blume has done a fantastic job of relating the thoughts and feelings girls experience as they begin to make the transition to adolescence. I'm sure many girls would say that reading this book is like reading their own diary. So much of what Margaret feels and thinks resonates with the reader. A fantastic book that lets girls know that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings.
July 4, 2022
A prior warning: This review may not flow accordingly, and may appear to be a hot mess of disjointed sentences and phrases due to my current state of mind. But rest assured, I know what I mean.

I initially picked this book up after reading a negative review from a good friend of mine, and it made me wonder, would I agree with him on his thoughts? The answer to that is yes. I thought this book was somewhat strange, and I'm baffled as to how this is considered to be a classic.

Put it this way, i'm certainly in no hurry to lend it to my daughter.

This is a fairly short book that could potentially be read in one sitting, but only of course, if one has the time, and the willpower. It is based on a preteen named Margaret, who falls into the wrong crowd of girls at her new school. Margaret is a rather pitiful character, that doesn't rise up against peer pressure, instead, she seems to embrace it, is always crying or moaning about something trivial, and really, isn't very likeable.

I found no part of Margaret relatable, especially in comparison to my own experiences as a twelve year old. Margaret and her circle of friends are all in some kind of competition as to who gets their period first. What bull is this? I dreaded getting mine. I was overcome with embarrassment and concern, and now, well, they make my life hell. As for wearing my first bra, I found going shopping with my Mum so uncomfortable, and to be honest, I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I certainly never had to stuff tissue in my bra, though.

The weird chant the girls had going in their meetings where they listed boys they wanted to kiss just took the biscuit.


I mean, really? Must we do such a thing? Is this for ourselves or the greater good of mankind?

Also, I got the overwhelming feeling that their male teacher, is in fact, a pervert. He held his gaze with Margaret too long for my liking, and he enjoyed looking at one of the girls that was an early developer. He also made Margaret feel dreadfully uncomfortable when she stated she hated religious holidays. What might be wrong about that, I ask?

In general, the writing itself is readable, but the plot is disappointing. I just can't see how young girls can pick anything worthwhile out of this book, and for me on a personal level, I find it extremely sad that any twelve year old girl would think that you're suddenly more worthy once you grow breasts and start menstruating, when in reality, life actually gets more complex once you do.
Profile Image for Jenna Hager.
Author 12 books39.4k followers
June 11, 2021
Last September, I had the privilege of interviewing Judy Bloom while she celebrated the 50th anniversary of the book, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” When I read this as a young girl, I felt like Judy Bloom was telling me the truth. She was whispering this is what’s to come, you are not alone and you do not need to be perfect. This book gave me so much solace as a child.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,478 reviews7,773 followers
October 2, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Eeks am I getting behind in posting reviews. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret was my final selection for Banned Books Week. I was extremely hesitant to re-read this since it was one of my childhood favorites. I was terrified my trip down memory lane would wind up filled with potholes and other bumps in the road that would lessen my enjoyment. Boy was I wrong! I loved Margaret just as much now as I did back then. Judy Blume was my go-to-gal back in the dark ages and her stuff amazingly stands the test of time. Highly recommended to young girls at that awkward “in between” age when they aren’t quite a kid, but not yet a woman.

Oh, and in case you live in a cave and have never heard of this book before, the subject matter that made it so “controversial” that young humans need to be protected from it????

Profile Image for Dona.
609 reviews88 followers
September 10, 2022
I got to the girl's room before the tears came....Then I walked home slowly by myself.

What was wrong with me anyway? When I was eleven I hardly ever cried. Now anything and everything could start me bawling. I wanted to talk it over with God. But I wasn't about to let him know that, even though I missed him.

Someone asked me recently if I would recommend ARE YOU THER GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET for middle grade students, and I didn't know how to answer, even though I had read the book. At first, I only gave this one 2 stars, because there were (and still are) things I didn't like about the characters and narrative.

On completing a second reading, I've come to discover that Judy Blume took issue with all the same things I did. She presented these subjects in as thoughtful a way as she could in her time, considering her audience, and the concerns of those readers' parents.

She writes about young characters grappling with grownup considerations, most of whom are doing so for the first time in their lives--choosing religious faith, ignoring the things your friends say, maturing sexually, wrestling with toxic relationships, coming to terms with your own capacity for cruelty, forgiving yourself, and more.

Some of these issues, the young characters must come to terms with under ironic, satirical circumstances. They need information, but must judge the information they receive for conflicts with their own experiences and interests.

While remaining elegant and subtle in tone, style, and even narrative development, ARE YOU THERE GOD provides young readers an example of how to question authority and think for themselves, to express their own needs and wants to themselves, and to recognize and exercise their own agency.

I would absolutely recommend this book for middlegrade students; it holds many valuable prizes. I'll just have to look past I must...I must...I must increase my bust! p46

Rating 2 stars; changed to 4 stars
First reading finished February 2022; second reading finished September 2022
Recommended for young readers; teachers looking for curriculum reads; Judy Blume fans; fans of middle grade fiction with a lit fic feel

✔️September Pick 15/18
✔️52 Book Club Summer Genre Challenge: Children's Story
✔️52 Book Club 52 Book Challenge: Award Winning Book from Your Country

*Follow my Instagram book blog for all my reviews, challenges, and book lists! http://www.instagram.com/donasbooks *
Profile Image for Darla.
3,505 reviews614 followers
February 12, 2021
Five belated stars for Judy Blume's honest and heartwarming depiction of a tween's search for God. Her mother was raised Presbyterian and her father Jewish. When they married they left religion behind and were determined to let Margaret make her own choice. The problem is, without the guidance of her parents, she feels woefully unprepared to make such a decision. I was too young to read this book when it came out and missed reading it when in the target audience. Twelve-year-old me would have most certainly loved meeting Margaret.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,060 reviews31.3k followers
July 1, 2021
My niece is 10 years old now and she is really trying to figure out this growing up thing. She is wanting more time with girlfriends to talk about stuff. I gave her my copy of this book to read that I read when I was about 10 or 11 years old. It's a very old copy now. She read the book in 2 days and said it was good. I decided to re-read this classic and be able to talk with her about the book.

I remember this book as the 'period' book, but it's also quite a bit about religion. Margaret has a mom who is Christian and a father who is Jewish. Both sets of parents had issues with marrying outside their religion so they decided to raise Margaret as not being any religion and when Margaret gets old enough, she can make up her own mind. She goes to Temple, church and mass with friends of hers and she is trying to figure out this God thing. I forgot all about that part of the book.

Judy Blume makes no attempt to answer that question. We see Margaret with all kinds of questions and the book ends with Margaret in the midst of all those questions. It's up to the reader to decide for themselves.

My favorite part of this book and I have heard from other girls that I'm not the only one. The 4 girls are together and they have a mantra they repeat together. "I must, I must, I must increase my bust" while opening their chest. I would sit in my room as a kid saying this over and over, just like the characters do. When this title is brought up, many women will talk about this line from the books. It's totally famous.

The main part of the book is Margaret moves to a suburb outside NYC and she meets a circle of girls all waiting for their period. They discuss bras, boys and what it will be like to bleed. One by one the girls get their period. They feel so adult after that. Margaret might not be a religion, but she still talks with God in her head, religion free.

Seeing if as an adult and then seeing my niece read this book, I still think this book has something to offer young girls. It talks about a big issue girls go through and it captures that time in life perfectly. Wanting to get older, afraid of being left behind. I forgot how snarky Nancy, Margaret's new friend was. She was sort of a bitch at times. Perfect for that age group. Her name is Nancy Wheeler, isn't that the name of the main character on 'Stranger Things'. The Duffer brothers were all about the 80s and I bet they did that on purpose, maybe not.

Anyway, I think this book is still important and it has helped to open a dialogue with my niece so God bless Judy Blume!
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,027 reviews374 followers
December 30, 2021
Finding a Non-Religious God

Torned between a Christian mother and a Jewish father, Margaret is having a hard time in finding herself a suitable religion.
After all, picking one side, could be easily compared to that embarrassing situation where you picture an adult sadistically smiling to a kid, whilst firing that embarrassing obnoxious question we all know about:

— Now tell me lil girl, whom do you love most? Mom or Dad?

Grrrrrrrrr! Does it ring a (crying out loud) bell 🛎😉?...

Well, returning to Margaret, after all her efforts she finally decided that religion was a source of conflict, which was definitely opposite to her idea of God! Better forget about it and go on talking to God as a Pal, like she always did. Although she didn't seem to fit in any religion, somehow, she felt the Presence of God, and she intended to keep talking to Him, as she always did...

According to Margaret, God was not Christian. Neither was He Muslim nor Jewish... For sweet young Margaret, God was not a religious entity. He was just a Higher Comrade she could turn to, whenever she needed a slight push to keep going ...

Gosh, am I talking about Margaret or was it me all the time?!...
Well... I don’t remember of having a Christian mother nor a Jewish father?!... So maybe this could be some sort of medley between Margaret and me?!😜
My bet is that you’ll also find a lil bit of yourself, too!😉
Profile Image for John.
22 reviews72 followers
March 20, 2007
I read this book again very recently as part of a program in which volunteers help teach childen and adults who have difficulty with reading and comprehension to read for understanding and ulimately enjoyment.

The girl I was reading with was very moved by the book. I guess, I had taken it for granted. Blume clearly knows her audience and speaks to them. As a young, fat boy, I read Blubber and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (along with 1001 Arabian Nights) over and over under the covers by the yellow haze a penlight affixed to a keychain.
There were nights those stories saved me, for those moments I knew I wasn't alone. There were people just like me out there somewhere suffering while running in gym class and stuggling with geometry and telling a 1001 stories to save our lives.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,206 reviews104 followers
September 3, 2023
I am with my head shaking and huge consternation reading (or at least trying to peruse without either grumbling angrily or laughing out loud stridently and derisively) some of the more vehemently negative reviews (the tirades) for Judy Blume's incomparable 1970 middle grade novel Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. And ha, ha, ha, and indeed, what many of these virulent ranters and ravers so unilaterally and utterly seem to freak out about and despise regarding Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is precisely what I have always loved, and what I totally and utterly personally appreciated when I (and my entire grade six class, in fact) read this novel in 1978, namely Blume's detailed description in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret of how main protagonist and first person narrator Margaret Simon and her "club" of preteen girlfriends (even though some of them like Nancy Wheeler are most definitely rather annoyingly what one would definitely call fair weather friends) deal with the beginning of puberty (including their developing breasts) and in particular the start of what we euphemistically tend to call our monthly visitor. I mean, we did have all girls school sessions during physical education classes in grade six about what to expect regarding our period, but this was incredibly basic at best (with questions not at all encouraged) and in no way ever as enlightening (as preparatory) and also as personal an account as Judy Blume's words in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret? (and yes, when the "big event" did finally happen to and for me, Blume's account of how Margaret Simon, Nancy Wheeler, Gretchen Potter et al deal with their menses really did help me tremendously, for when I asked my own mother, she simply handed me a package of sanitary napkins and told me that one does not really discuss menstruation, even privately, even with one's mother).

And while, of course, Margaret and her friends' emerging puberty is but one (and perhaps even to a certain extent a minor major aspect) of Are You There God? It's Me Margaret (with Margaret's religious questions, issues with potential family dysfunction, moving, and especially that new "best" friend Nancy often lies, always needs to be the leader, the star of the party so to speak and is obviously also someone who loves to repeat and spread nasty gossip being of equal importance and significance), for me personally, what has always been my most lasting and yes, my most positive girlhood, young teenager-hood memory of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret? is indeed how starting one's period is described, is meticulously explained and depicted by Judy Blume, and in such a delightfully personable and positive manner that is both readable and approachable, that is totally relatable to and for the intended audience, to and for preteen and young teenaged girls from about the age of nine to fifteen (and yes, sometimes girls do in fact start menstruating at the age of eight or nine). And thus, solidly and glowingly five stars for Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, absolutely and forever on my favourite shelf, and also my favourite Judy Blume novel.
Author 5 books616 followers
September 6, 2015
I loved this book so much as a kid. It was interesting rereading it now.

One thing that startled me was something I barely noticed when I was younger: Margaret gets very angry at God at one point, and decides she's not talking to him any more. She thinks he's been mean to her, and she's hitting back as best she can.

Which is fine. Very believable. But then she starts telling everyone that she doesn't believe in God. And whenever she says that, she thinks to herself that she hopes he's listening.

Here's the problem: I'm someone who, without rancor, doesn't happen to believe in God. And I've had several people tell me something along the lines of, "Deep down, you know he really exists," and imply that it's not that I don't believe; it's that I'm angry.

Part of that is understandable, since I do run around ranting all the time. But not about the big G and how he done me wrong. I tend to scream about human failings.

Stories like this don't do much to help people like me, who don't insist that everyone share our worldview but would like to be believed when we say we have such a worldview. And this does come up quite a bit.

Think about it: In newspaper articles, people are described as belonging to certain religions. So-And-So is a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Jew. But atheists are almost always "self-described," or people who "claim to be" atheists.

Back to the book: Other than the fact that Margaret's family is far more upper-middle-class and functional than mine ever was, I found a lot to relate to here, and a great deal to enjoy. The writing is funny and Blume has a great ear for dialogue. In spite of all the changes in technology that have occurred since she wrote it, this story stands the test of time quite well.
Profile Image for Shawna Finnigan.
507 reviews327 followers
July 29, 2021
This book confuses me… You’d think it’d be a religious book based on the title, right? Well, religion is a huge part of the book, but why are sixth grade girls looking at naked women in Playboy magazines, doing exercises to make their chests bigger, desperately hoping for their period, and talking about how they think their teacher has feelings for their classmate? It’s an odd combination to combine these “naughty” topics that parents might not want their kids reading about with religion.

I think that the thing that stands out most for me about this book is the messages that the book sends to kids. Some kids may like this book because it’s “naughty” and “scandalous” by talking about some taboo topics, but at the end of the day it teaches some lessons that could help kids, especially preteen girls. It teaches that you can have a relationship with God without being super over the top religious, you’re allowed to question your faith, you can’t believe everything that your friends tell you, and everyone goes through puberty in different stages. I didn’t necessarily enjoy this book and I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed it if I read it when I was a kid, but the messages in this book are very meaningful and they’re ones that preteen girls need to learn.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
January 21, 2023
No two ways about it, this book is a classic.

I mean, I read it out of curiosity back when I was kid even if it was for girls but the REAL reason I read it was because a whole bunch of Karens under the auspices of the local Parent-Teacher organization loved to ban books and there was nothing that encouraged me to read more than banned books.

It was either reading this or Stephen King. I may have read more SK than Blume. But I did remember this fondly.

So fondly, in fact, that I gave a copy to my 10-year-old daughter and she devoured it in almost a single sitting, expressing a lot of delight.

I call that a win.
Profile Image for Brian Yahn.
310 reviews599 followers
November 13, 2020
Are you there, Judy Blume? It's me, Brian. I loved your book. I devoured it in one sitting. It was enlightening but at the same time funny as can be. Never had I ever wanted to be a ten year-old girl, and now I kind of do. Is that okay? Am I normal? I find myself going up to my friends and saying, "I must--I must--I must increase my bust." They think it's strange. Anyway, thanks for writing this story. It was more fun than a Pixar movie, and it taught me a lot. I hope you have a good day.
Profile Image for Antoinette.
780 reviews61 followers
March 12, 2020
Books by Judy Blume were not part of my growing up years. After reading this book, I wish I could have read it when I was an impressionable 11 year old girl. It would have felt wonderful to know that someone out there understood me and what I was going through.

This is a middle grade novel, but to me it read like an expose to an earlier time.

I absolutely loved this book and I’m so glad that Julie Grippo recommend I read it, even now as an almost senior.
Profile Image for MissBecka Gee.
1,596 reviews636 followers
January 2, 2021
I can see why so many people loved Ms. Bloom in their youth.
She is incredibly honest with events and ideas that run through a middlegrader's day.
Since I am not 12, it didn't have as big of an impression on me as it would have 30 years ago.
Totally something I would recommend to friends with pre-teens in the house.
Profile Image for Trish.
2,015 reviews3,433 followers
January 22, 2023
I must, I must, I must increase my bust! 🤣🤣🤣

Confession time:
I've seen this book a time or two but really thought there was a religious tone to it so I stayed away from it. However, a few days ago, I saw the trailer (can't remember what made me click on it but it must have had to do with the cast). Then I talked to my buddy-reader and found out just how popular Judy Blume and indeed this book has been / is so I decided to find out why.

The story is that of Margaret, an 11-year-old, who just moved from NYC to "the country" (Jersey). Now she has to go to a new school, find new friends, buy some bras with her mother (for the first time), talk about periods, find a way to still spend time with her beloved grandma and generally navigate the treacherous waters of growing up.

Some books with coming-of-age stories are flat or over the top, but not this one. It's downright charming and it made me laugh so many times. It's absolutely no surprise that this has been so beloved for so many decades - and that it was banned in many places.

Personally, I think we need more books like this that tactfully yet unflinchingly talk about the facts of life in a voice appropriate for the target audience.

Wonderful little story that will enrich any shelf and any reader's life.

P.S.: And yes, I'll watch the movie because it looks as charming as the book was while reading.
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