Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Introduction
In A Nutshell
Let's start by getting one thing straight: Chances are decent your mom not only read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret when she was growing up, but she also probably loved it. And the thing is, you're probably gonna love it too. Because though Judy Blume published it in 1970—decades before cell phones and Snapchat and all that jazz—at its heart, this is a book about growing up. And the thing about growing up is that though styles and accessories and such change over time, the feelings and questions we ask pretty much stay the same.
Whether you've grown up with religion or not, you've probably found yourself wondering about the purpose of life, wondering if there's an order to it all or if we wander the world in a chaotic web of free choice. And if this is true—if you've found yourself pondering the Big Questions—then there's definitely something for you in this book. Our main girl, Margaret, even goes so far as to map out a plan for trying out several different religions in hopes of landing a religious identity like the rest of her friends.
Or maybe you're a late bloomer. Or an early bloomer. Or heck—just a bloomer. If you've got a body and you've stared down adolescence, then it's likely that body of yours hasn't always done what you'd like it to—and Margaret is right there with you. This is a girl with a serious desire to grow some boobs and there's little she won't do to encourage their growth. And in the meantime, she's not at all above stuffing her bra. Hey—fake it 'til you make it, right?
Maybe you're still on the fence about whether this coming of age story about an eleven-going-on-twelve-year-old girl is for you. Maybe you don't want to take Shmoop's word for it. Well you're in luck then, because you don't have to. This book has been winning awards since it's publication. And while plenty of books make a big splash when they're released, it's an elite handful that can boast winning prizes for decades. So it's not just Shmoop and your mom who think Margaret's story is worth reading—nope, it's everyone from the New York Times to Scholastic.
Perhaps, though, religion and boobs and prizes aren't your thing. Perhaps instead you like controversy. We've got some very good news for you, then: Judy Blume is the second most-banned author since the United States began banning books. The only more banned author, in fact, is Stephen King—and that dude writes horror —which means Blume really knows how to push some buttons. And time and again, it's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret that gets Blume booted from library shelves.
So whether you're nervous about getting your period, wondering if there's a big guy in the sky, trying to read every important book ever written, or just looking to rebel a little bit, hunker down with this book. We promise it won't disappoint. And who knows—your kids might even read it someday themselves.
Why Should I Care?
When you're alone in your room, do you worry that you're different from everyone else? Does it seem like all the other kids have it all figured out? Well here's the thing: Though you're technically alone in your room, you're not alone at all in your feelings. No matter where you fall socially at school, every kid goes home and worries about fitting in and finding their place in the world. And religion and periods and crushes aside, this struggle is what's at the heart of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
While plenty of books for young audiences throw some magic or fantasy into the mix to help their main character come into their own, this book isn't one of them. Margaret is just an ordinary girl, from an ordinary family, living in an ordinary town, and attending an ordinary school—which makes her and her problems intensely relatable. And on the flip side, it means her solutions are relevant to our real-world lives too. Pretty cool, right? It might not be flashy, but it's certainly honest, which is something everyone could use a little of when it comes to navigating growing up.