Laura Danker in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
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There's always an odd girl out, and in this book it's Laura Danker. While the PTS meets to worry about whether they'll ever have real boobs and get their periods, Laura is at the opposite end of that spectrum. Here's how Margaret first describes her:
The teacher wasn't in the room when we got there. That is, the real teacher. There was this girl, who I thought was the teacher, but she turned out to be a kid in our class. She was very tall (that's why I thought she was the teacher) with eyes shaped like a cat's. You could see the outline of her bra through her blouse and you could also tell from the front that it wasn't the smallest size. She sat down alone and didn't talk to anyone. I wondered if maybe she was new too, because everybody else was busy talking and laughing about summer vacations and new hair styles and all that. (4.13)
Who's the girl that Margaret thought was the teacher? That would be fellow sixth-grader Laura Danker. And no, she's not new to school—she's just been outcast because her body developed earlier than the other kids'. The boys are in awe of her and the girls all wants to be her, and while this may sound like a pretty sweet gig, in reality it means that Laura spends a lot of time alone.
And if standing out weren't bad enough, Nancy spreads nasty rumors about Laura too, telling everyone that Laura goes behind the A&P with Moose and Evan. Margaret believes Nancy's stories about Laura until she finds herself partnered with Laura for a group project and accidentally spills the beans. She says:
"I heard all about you and Moose Freed," I whispered.
Laura put down her pencil and looked at me. "You heard what about me and Moose Freed?"
"Oh—about how you and Evan and Moose go behind the A&P," I said.
"What would I do that for?" Laura asked.
She was really thick! "I don't know what you do it for. But I know why they do it… they do it so they can feel you or something and you let them!"
She shut the encyclopedia hard and stood up. Her face was burning red and I saw a blue vein stick out in her neck. "You filthy liar! You little pig!" Nobody ever called me such names in my whole life.
Laura scooped up her books and her coat and ran out of the library. I grabbed my things and followed her. (19.16-22)
Margaret immediately understands that this A&P story is another lie Nancy's told her—and it's a really vicious lie, isn't it? Not cool, Nancy, not cool. But you know what is cool? Where Margaret winds up after following Laura: Confession.
And while magic doesn't happen for Margaret in the confessional, it's another important stop along her way to figuring out her thoughts and feelings toward religion and God. In other words, Laura makes a pretty meaningful contribution to Margaret's life… despite Margaret and her friends being pretty mean to her.
Laura Danker in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Study Group
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