Title: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Author: Judy Blume
Publisher: Random House
Year of publication: 1970
Blume’s popular novel, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, is a middle-grade novel that can be appreciated by children and young adults from about 4th grade on. It’s the story of Margaret, a sixth grader trying to navigate growing up while adjusting to a new town. She faces the usual coming of age difficulties: making friends, fitting it, stressing over puberty. It’s Margaret’s interest in religion that sets this coming of age story apart from others like it. Margaret is raised in a non-religious household but she often sorts through her problems by talking to God. When assigned a year-long project for school Margaret decides to focus on religion and attempts to hear or feel God. It’s a children’s book with a whole lot of depth. Though Margaret doesn’t exactly figure out where she stands when it comes to religion her personal relationship with a God she believes in is strengthened when her prayers are answered and she finally starts her period.
Though written in 1970, the issues dealt with in Blume’s novels are universal and timeless. The realities of growing up are still the same. Fitting into a group, talking about cute boys, and stressing about puberty are part of the general reality of growing up as a young female. Margaret is a relatable character, even more so today since society is increasingly secular. Much like Margaret, more children are being raised without a religion of which they are required to strictly adhere. Though religion is often a contentious topic, Blume handles the subject with grace. Margaret explores Judaism, Christianity, and Catholicism and even when she doesn’t connect with a certain belief system the subject is still handled with respect.