external image 0689841582.01._SY190_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgAre You There God? It's Me, Margaret
by Judy Blume
Laurel Leaf Books, 1970
149 pages


: Margaret has just moved from New York to New Jersey. As she is forced to make new friends, she becomes painfully aware of her undeveloping body and her lack of a religion. As her friends begin their menstrual cycles and begin to grow, she questions God whether she ever will.

Topics: Religion, philosophy, puberty, family relationships, questioning beliefs.

Thematic Statement: Even though it doesn’t always seem like it, the universe is proceeding as it should, and you are no less than the trees or the stars. Organized religion is not necessary to be loved by God.

Range of Appeal: This short book’s easy readability is probably better for younger adolescents grades 5 through 8. A very mature male for this age could read it, but it’s probably a better book for girls. The book does have some discussion on style, but was written in the early seventies, so many readers might decide it’s not current enough.

Plot: Margaret’s family moves to New Jersey without consulting her. She prays often to God to help her find new friends. She doesn’t see her grandma as often, who lived near their old home in New York, but quickly makes new friends her own age. She and her friends form a club that is interested in the things adolescent girls start to be interested in. They make rules that everyone must wear a bra, keep a “boy book,” and tell everyone when their period starts. Their new teacher, Mr. Benedict, assigns a year long lesson of the student’s choice. Margaret decides to figure out what religion she wants to be. She goes to the synagogue with her grandmother and church with her friends. She begins to notice boys and attends a party where she has her first kiss. Her mother’s parents visit the family for the first time after disowning their daughter for marrying a Jew. They insist that Margaret is a Christian and she and her parents argue with them. She refuses to talk to God anymore. After Gretchen and Nancy get their period, Margaret finally gets hers, and begins talking to God again.

Evaluation/Mini-rationale: This is a good book for young women who are approaching puberty or for older individuals of either gender trying to determine their religion.

Additional Notes: Very embarrassing book for a middle school male.

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