Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume is just about the most endearing book I have ever read. I spent New Years Eve/New Years Day reading it while I was sick and it was a wonderful distraction. It reminded me so much of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, another coming-of-age-story that makes you smile and feel wistful no matter who you are.
Margaret Simon is a character I will remember well. The story of her sixth grade year was charming. Judy Blume manages to bring the reader right back into those angsty times when things are either happening too fast or not happening fast enough. Margaret makes new friends as soon as her family moves from New York City to New Jersey, and suddenly learns that she is behind everyone else when it comes to almost everything that is “important”. Predictably, this includes social skills with boys and personal development.
What surprised me was Margaret’s fixation on religion. While it makes sense given that her own parents com from differing backgrounds, all of Margaret’s classmates seem to be one religion or the other and make an awfully big deal about her being undecided. I adored the character of her grandmother and how supportive she was of Margaret, even when she had to given that extra support and encouragement behind Margaret’s parent’s backs at times. Sylvie was there for Margaret no matter what, even when her friends and parents weren’t.
I don’t think I could have picked a more perfect book to be my first read of 2019. This was not the first Judy Blume book I have read, but it does make me want to check out some of her adult fiction next time.