Where do I begin? In its own time and varyingly so now, this novel is an important and necessary preteen coming-of-age novel. And by coming of age, I mean discovering boys, desiring bigger breasts, and learning one’s own identity. Main character and protagonist Margaret has just moved from New York to New Jersey with her parents, and is feeling the pain of being “almost twelve” and having to make new friends and deal with the changes that are happening both inside her and in her world around her. She is not only separated from her friends and lovely apartment, but also from her loving Jewish grandmother, always there to support her and love on her. But, alas, she does make friends, friends that encourage her to share her secret boy crushes and do exercises to increase her breast size. All typical preteen activities, in my opinion.
While some of her worries and actions may seem childish and immature, she has serious concerns about who exactly she wants to be, including what religion to follow. Following Margaret throughout this novel should take us all back to what it was like to enter teenage years, with hormones beginning to settle in, and confidence beginning to waver in our hearts.
Though rather dated and having set the precedent for more novels with a similar theme, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret should always ring true as our beacon of understanding the minds and journey of preteen girls.
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret
by Judy Blume
Originally published in 1970