I chose to read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, by Judy Blume for the 2018 Reading Challenge prompt a childhood classic I’ve never read. I really should have read this book when I was a preteen rather than a forty-something adult. It would have had a much different impact on me back then.
Still, this is a beautifully written rite-of-passage story about a sixth grade girl, Margaret. Though I didn’t read this book when I should have, I can still see the impact it had on the culture I grew up in. It is funny and deeply moving.
There is an understated discussion about religion through the course of this book. Margaret, the main character, has been raised in a non-religous home by parents of different religious backgrounds. I love how Blume shows a girl trying to find answers to the question of religion and faith. She hasn’t been given any of the answers, and seeks them out on her own. In the end, I think she finds what she’s looking for despite the division within her own family.
I really enjoyed how Blume demonstrated this struggle to find the meaning of faith and religion by placing that journey within the often uncomfortable family relationships we all deal with. She tackles a serious subject from a humorous standpoint, and in the end shows what love and acceptance really look like.
While some of the details are outdated (it was published in 1970), the struggles of a pre-teen girl to find her place in the world are timeless. This is a great book.