Friday, November 13, 2009

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret

It's sad, really, that I never read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume when I was young. Unfortunately, the stigma of it being a "banned book" equated the story with being bad. As I've gotten older and (hopefully) a bit wiser, I realize that I missed out on a beautiful story that may well have addressed some of the very concerns I had at that age.

The charming, innocent voice of Margaret makes her instantly relatable. A lot of "news" like new friends, new school, and new house greet Margaret as she embarks on one of the most frustrating and misunderstood times a girl passes through. Boys, menstruation, friends, and religion all play into the microcosm of her world. I don't know of a girl who hasn't wondered about those things as a curious eleven-year-old. It is natural, and Blume handles the delicate topics with finesse and gentleness.

I love Margaret's relationship with God, a being she didn't completely understand as far as organized religion, but who she trusted as a friend. Her hope that things would work out, even if it seemed like she would die of embarrassment at the time, struck me as the innocent faith of a child mixed with the maturing realizations of a young woman.

Reading this book, I realized I'm still curious and uncertain about different aspects of life. Though I'm long past the time of training bras and first periods, there is still a wonder and excitement about what life will bring. I hope I never lose that, but if I do, I'll have Margaret and her story to show me the way.

As a final thought, I'd like to share this: