Study Guide

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Friendship

By Judy Blume

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"Oh, listen, Margaret," Nancy said. "On the first day of school wear loafers, but no socks."

"How come?"

"Otherwise you'll look like a baby."


"Besides, I want you to join my secret club and if you're wearing socks the other kids might not want you." (2.118-122)

We're only in the second chapter and already Nancy's working her manipulation muscles. As though anybody but Nancy actually has a say in whether Margaret gets to join their club or not… We think Nancy's just testing Margaret to see if she'll do what Nancy says.

By the time I got to Room Eighteen of the Delano Elementary School my feet hurt so much I thought I wouldn't make it through the day. Why are mothers always right about those things? As it turned out, half the girls had on knee socks anyway. (4.12)

Those knee socks are looking pretty amazing right about now to poor Margaret, and we bet she's wishing she hadn't listened to Nancy.

When Gretchen helped herself to six Oreos at once Nancy asked her how much weight she'd gained over the summer. Gretchen put back four cookies and said, "Not much." (5.1)

Nancy is a master manipulator. She controls Gretchen not by mentioning the cookies she's eating, but instead by casually bringing up her weight. Shame on you, Nancy.

I pretended to be really busy reading a book but the truth is—I was watching Moose. If he looked toward me I put my nose back in the book in a hurry. Moose would be number one in my Boy Book if only I was brave enough, but what would Nancy think? She hated him. (6.14)

What is it about Nancy that gives her so much power over what the other girls think and do? Really—we want to know what you think.

On the day of the party I talked to Nancy six times, to Janie three times and to Gretchen twice. Nancy called me back every time she changed her mind about what to wear. And each time she asked me if I was still wearing my velvet. I told her I was. (13.46)

Though Nancy's kind of a bully, this is one close-knit group of friends that Margaret's found herself. She is closest to Nancy out of everyone in the group, as evidenced by talking to her the most before the party.

Suppose I hadn't been along that day? I'd never have found out about Nancy. I almost wished I hadn't. (17.28)

Is it better to know the bad stuff about a friend or not? And if you don't know the bad stuff, do you really know your friend?

I didn't know what to say. I mean, what can you say when you've just found out your friend's a liar!

Nancy washed her hands and face. I handed her two paper towels to dry herself. "Are you okay?" I asked. I felt kind of sorry for Nancy then. I want my period too, but not enough to lie about it. (17.31-32)

So Margaret is able to be a little critical of Nancy here. Nancy is definitely the unofficial boss of their secret club, but that doesn't mean she's always right—plus, as Margaret recognizes, maybe there's something a little pathetic about Nancy too. After all, she's lied about her own body.

I was being really awful. And I hadn't even planned it. I sounded like Nancy. That's when it hit me that for all I knew Nancy made up that story about Laura. Or maybe Moose and Evan made it up just to brag. Yes, I bet they did! Moose was a big liar too! (19.22)

Why is Margaret so mean here? Is it just Nancy's influence, or is there more to it?

"Me? That's a good one! You think it's such a great game to make fun of me, don't you?"

"No," I said.

"Don't you think I know all about you and your friends? Do you think it's any fun to be the biggest kid in the class?"

"I don't know," I said. "I never thought about it." (19.28-31)

The problem with only hanging out with the same group of people day in and day out is that sometimes it blinds us to different perspectives. Since Margaret is generally so thoughtful, we think that's part of why she'd never considered things from Laura's side before this.

Janie didn't move. She looked like she was cemented to the floor. She had this dumb expression on her face—between crying and smiling. So I grabbed her box and headed for Max and the cash register. I plopped everything down in front of him and just stood there not looking at his face and not saying anything either. (22.24)

This is really being a friend, isn't it? Being strong when your friend can't be. Go, Margaret, go.

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