Are You There God? It's Me Margaret? - Judy Blume
Source: Review copy courtesy of Manmillan childrens books via NetGalley.
Life isn't easy for Margaret. She's moved away from her childhood home, she's starting a new school, finding new friends – and she's convinced she's not normal.
For a start she hasn't got a clue whether she wants to be Jewish like her father or Christian like her mother. Everyone else seems really sure of who they are. And, worst of all, she's a 'late developer'. She just knows that all her friends are going to need a bra before she does. It's too embarrassing to talk to her parents about these things. So she talks to God instead - and waits for an answer . . .
During an interview with author Jenny Oliver, she told me growing up her favourite book was Are you there God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume. She was so enthusiastic and excited about it still after all this time. A few days later a twitter feed started about the book too. I was told by so many different people that this was the book to read, this was the book of their teenage years, a book they have never forgotten. So, I ordered myself a copy. The day it arrived I also got the forty-five year anniversary edition from PanMacmillan. I absolutely love the cover for that one and I'm sure it will catch a few young reader's eyes.
I started AYTGIMM as my first book for the #YALCReadathon. I found it extremely hard not to compare it to YA now. I constantly had to remind myself that this book is forty-five years old. I did get into it eventually and I absolutely loved it. It took me back to being eleven/twelve and wanting to be grown up. It took me back to wearing my first bra and stuffing toilet roll into it too. It had me grinning stupidly like a child when Margaret and her friends spoke about boys and periods. It had me wondering about religion and had me basically wrapped around its little finger. Do you know what I liked most about it though? Its boldness. To tackle the situations in this book at the time it was written surely must have raised a lot of eyebrows and a lot of debates. Pushing boundaries in fiction is something I search for, and I found it in this book of our childhood secrets. It's a book for us girls whatever age we may be to read and connect with everything that's going on in it.