Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was published in 1970 and is a young adult novel. The controversial novel is mostly about puberty issues that pre-teen girls face as well as the particular religious confusion Margaret deals with as one parent is Christian and the other Jewish. A Banned Books Awareness article notes that the combination of these two issues, sexuality and religion, “lead to it being one of the most banned and challenged books of the last 30 years. In fact, second only to Stephen King, Judy Blume is the most banned author in American history, with several of her books appearing on banned book lists nationwide”.
I haven’t read this book personally but I imagine that it probably answered a lot of questions or at least brought some light to a subject matter that people weren’t really talking about at the time. Lev Grossman of TIME shares my sentiments when he writes: “you could almost hear the collective generational sigh of relief in 1970 when Blume published this groundbreaking, taboo-trampling young adult novel: finally, a book that talks frankly about sex without being prim or prurient, and about religion without scolding or condescending. […] Blume turned millions of pre-teens into readers. She did it by asking the right questions—and avoiding pat, easy answers”. So it strikes me as a bit strange that it was banned in the 80’s a decade after it was published.
Margaret Simon, almost twelve, has just moved from New York City to the suburbs, and she’s anxious to fit in with her new friends. When she’s asked to join a secret club she jumps at the chance. But when the girls start talking about boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret starts to wonder if she’s normal. There are some things about growing up that are hard for her to talk about, even with her friends. Lucky for Margaret, she’s got someone else to confide in… someone who always listens. (read more on GoodReads)
Have you read this book? What did you think? And did it really need to be banned in your opinion?