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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (2001)

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (2001)
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Rating
3.88 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0689841582 (ISBN13: 9780689841583)
languge
English
publisher
atheneum/richard jackson books
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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret ...
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (2001)

About book: "Are you there God?  It's me, Margaret.  We're moving today.  I'm so scared God.  I've never lived anywhere but here.  Suppose I hate my new school?  Suppose everybody there hates me? Please help me God.  Don't let New Jersey be too horrible.  Thank you. We moved on the Tuesday before Labor Day.  I knew what the weather was like the second I got up.  I knew because I caught my mother sniffing under her arms.  She always does that when it's hot and humid, to make sure her deodorant's working.  I don't use deodorant yet.  I don't think people start to smell bad until they're at least twelve.  So I've still got a few months to go."My first reaction after reading this and the rest of the first chapter was, according to my goodreads status update, this:   "Oh. My. God. There is not enough room to quote the entire first chapter. Freakin' epic. ♥"  So there is a chance that, yes, I may be being a bit overly nostalgic, but I'm quite impressed with the writing.  The themes and issues seem quite timeless -- I'd like to assume that today's 12 year-old young women would still be able to relate to Margaret and her friends.And speaking of  themes, there is A LOT going on.  Margaret's pre-teen life is more than just "obsessing" about boobs and bras, periods, and boys -- her life is a bit more complicated than that.  For starters she's the new girl in town having just moved from the big city (New York, of course) to New Jersey.  It's funny -- her paternal Grandma thinks she's living out in the boonies.  It's sorta a bit of a running joke throughout the book. But when I groaned, "Why New Jersey?" I was told, "Long Island is too social -- Westchester is too expensive -- and Connecticut is too inconvenient."   So Farbrook, New Jersey it was, where my father could commute to his job in Manhattan, where I could go to public school, and where my mother could have all the grass, trees and flowers she ever wanted.  Except I never knew she wanted that stuff in the first place." "Come on, Margaret.  Let's get these bags into the kitchen." I picked up one shopping bag.  "Grandma, this is so heavy!  What's in it?" "Hotdogs, potato salad, cole slaw, corned beef, rye bread..." I laughed.  "You mean it's food?" "Of course it's food." "But they have food in New Jersey, Grandma." "Not this kind." "Oh yes," I said.  "Even delicatessen." "No place has delicatessen like New York!" "When I was finished Grandma shook her head and said, "I just don't understand why they had to move to the country."   "It's not really country, Grandma," I explained.  "There aren't any cows around." "To me it's country!" Grandma said.But besides, just being the new girl, Margaret is being raised with no religion at all because her dad is Jewish and her mom is Christian.  Honestly, to me, this makes the book, dare I say, a bit more interesting and maybe even a tiny bit controversial.  Not in a bad way, it just seems incredibly ballsy of Blume to present Margaret's parents in this manner.  But perhaps the reality is that some interfaith couples, and even couples that aren't interfaith, aren't too religious themselves and thus are raising their children without religion -- or are giving them the option to choose their own religion which, as Margaret discovers, is very hard to do. "Are you there God?  It's me, Margaret?  ...I've been looking for you God.  I looked in temple.  I looked in church.  And today, I looked for you when I wanted to confess.  But you weren't there.  I didn't feel you at all.  Not the way I do when I talk to you at night.  Why God? Why do I only feel you when I'm alone?" "I don't think a person can decide to be a certain religion just like that.  It's like having to choose your own name.  You think about it a long time and then you keep changing your mind.  If I should ever have children I will tell them what religion they are so they can start learning about it at an early age.  Twelve is very late to learn."Alright, I did the mature, grown-up thing first:  I talked about Margaret being the new girl in town and her struggle with religious identity.  But really, even if you've forgotten everything about the book, you know that you still remember this: "If you ever want to get out of those baby bras you have to exercise," she told us. "What kind of exercise?" Gretchen asked. "Like this," Nancy said.  She made fists, bent her arms at the elbow and moved them back and forth, sticking her chest way out.  She said,"I must -- I must -- I must increase my bust."  She said it over and over.  We copied her movements and chanted with her.  "We must -- we must -- we must increase our bust!" "Good," Nancy told us.  "Do it thirty-five times a day and I promise you'll see results."If you are wondering what makes Nancy entitled to say this it's because she's got the biggest chest of the four girls -- she's a 32AA, the other three gals are wearing Gro-Bras, Margaret is a size 28 and, according to the saleslady at the department store, is not quite ready for a double A cup.ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET is a coming of age classic that, IMHO, is timeless and relevant today -- there really isn't anything  that shouts that this book was published in 1970. ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET can be read and enjoyed at face value, but it's a "complicated" YA book -- one whose characters and themes and situations could really be scrutinized and analyzed for a proper college essay.www.isniffbooks.wordpress.com[edited to add review on 11-10-2014]

Original post at One More PageI think my mom bought this book because God is in the title. If I were only getting this now, I'd buy it for the same reasons, which goes to show how I am such my mother's daughter. :)I read this just as I was about to turn thirteen, I think. From the very start of the book, I liked Margaret. It's so easy to relate to her. She's a very normal kid with a normal family who has typical questions about growing up. She's feeling changes in her body, and she's learning about these changes from her new friends in school, and she finds that its awkward to talk to her parents about it. She starts liking guys and she wonders if the guys somehow likes her back, too. I see a lot of my teenage self in her, but the only thing that Margaret and I don't have in common is the religion aspect. While I grew up in a devout Catholic, Margaret grew up without knowing any religion because of her parents' different beliefs (her mom being Christian and her dad Jewish).It's been a while since I last read this book, so I can't remember all the parts of it. However, I know I have fond memories of this book, so much that I re-read this books a couple of times. She's one of those characters whose normalcy makes her charming, and it's not often we find someone like that in YA books nowadays -- at least not one who is not involved in a paranormal love triangle of some sort. Her voice was real and funny, and she wasn't especially mean or beautiful or popular, and that makes it easier to relate to her.I liked how Judy Blume was very brave to address these questions that every pre-teen girl has and answer it in a realistic manner. She didn't sugarcoat anything, no matter how embarrassing other things are because they really happen -- like stuffing cotton in training bras, or pretending to have a period already just so they're ahead of their peers. Thankfully, I didn't have the same kinds of pressure when I was Margaret's age. It wasn't such a big deal for my friends and I on who gets their period first or what. I think the only "competition" that was somewhat evident back then was who gets a boyfriend first (which I have obviously lost until now :P).I also liked how Judy Blume made Margaret's faith a huge part of the story. I liked that the way Margaret talked to God here was like a friend, like she could talk to Him anytime, and yet still respects Him for being, well, God. Margaret's confusion over her religion felt real, and it was nice to read about someone who was actively searching for her faith and something to believe in. I think people often forget the most important thing that religion helps us build: a personal relationship with God. I liked how Margaret had the chance to see and experience the different traditions of different religions, how Judy Blume led her character through all those experiences yet still not give us a final decision. Instead, she gives Margaret a reason to believe and continue to talk to God in the way she knows how. Which I think God appreciates since it comes from the heart. :)I'm not sure if this book is recommendable to boys (but Judy Blume has a boy version of this book entitled Then Again, Maybe I Won't), but I absolutely recommend this to girls and parents of pre-teen girls -- it's one of those books that a girl must read at least once in their lives.
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Reviews
Sondang
I bought this book when I was in my elementary school. I remembered asking my dad to give me the money to buy this, after I saw the review in Bobo.I loooove the story back then, and I guess I still do –but I couldn’t find the book at Gramedia these days, since I lost mine to a friend-The story is about nine (or ten? Or twelve?) years old Margareth, who had three best friends and a big brother who has a cute friend.The story is about Margareth’s days and all her wishes as an ackward young girl, who –just like the rest of us- couldn’t wait to grow up.
Snarky's
I read this book while living in Greece and listening to Kasey Casem's top forty. I remember that "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was the number one song and I also remember Casey telling the story of Bonnie Tyler's vocal dramedy and comeback. What does it have to do with this book? Um, not much. I was about ten, aleady had boobs and a period (both of which I wanted to jettison). I found the book amusing because I could relate to the religious power struggle that plagued our protag. Also I was the subject of many awful "slut" rumors because of my big tits. No, I did not let boys take me behind the PX and feel me up, nor did I give peepshows at recess. Anyway, adorable book. Funny (pads used to have belts??? What kind of crazy hell is that? Believe me I love some accessories, but my vagina is pretty well accessorized already!). Sad (Margaret longing for her period and wearing cotton balls in her training bra. I've been told the "belt" references have been removed. Can someone verify this? I'm not about to read this damn book again.
Sarah
Excerpt: “…If I should ever have children I will tell them what religion they are so they can start learning about it at an early age. Twelve is very late to learn.”This was a fast-read. Composed only of 149 pages and narrated by a girl of 12 years old, if you think reading this book is balderdash, then you're wrongThis book was no nonsense. It talked about big topics like growing up, hitting puberty, peer-pressure and picking out a religion. How is that possible with a short book? I’d leave that to your imagination.The book captured the notable and somewhat silly efforts of young girls to grow quickly. The giddiness of having a crush. The kissing games at a party. The menarche (sorry I just have to say that). The I-Must exercises. And I know this is not about me but I’d like to say, I’d never practice kissing on a pillow. Thank you.How I wish I’ve read this back when I was still their age. I would have really benefited from the aforementioned I-Must exercises. For the clueless, it’s a bust exercise! Ha-ha. Reading this at my age (w/c BTW is 17! Hmmph) somehow diminish what would be an immense liking for this book. This is my first book of Judy Blume and honestly speaking, I do not know anything about her so I have no expectations what so ever. It’s a lot better that way since it’s a lot easier to like a book when you don’t know the author and don’t have expectations. I wonder if all her books are like this.
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