Friday, March 11, 2011

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

Blume, J. (1970). Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.

Plot Summary:
Margaret just moved with her parents from her apartment in New York City, her friends and grandmother, to the suburbs of New Jersey. She immediately becomes friends with Nancy, a neighbor her age, who fills Margaret in school gossip and informs her on what is and is not cool at their school. Once the school year begins, Margaret meets the rest of Nancy's crew and becomes a part of their secret club. As part of this club Margaret must wear a bra, which, much to her chagrin, is not something she yet requires. As the school year passes Margaret keeps in touch with her grandmother, who still lives in New York City, continues to hang out with her friends, and begins to explore different religions as part of a year long project for her class. Margaret's father was raised Jewish and her mom, Christian. After her paternal grandmother became upset her son was marrying someone not Jewish and her materal grandparents decided to have nothing to do with their daughter for marrying a Jew, Margaret’s parents decided to raise her without religion. Margaret has always kept the fact that she talks to God a secret from her parents and they get upset when she tells them she has begun exploring different religions, stating she is too young for such a big decision. Margaret navigates through her sixth grade year learning about boys, dealing with her feuding family and lying friends, and anticipating changes in her body that are reluctant to come.

This is a great book for tweenaged girls. I read it at as a tween and remember it making me feel so NORMAL, which was something I didn't often feel at that age. Margaret is dealing with friends who are more developed than her, friends with insecurities, and her own questions about what she wants and who she is. That is every girl in their tween years. Because this book is especially important for girls about to get their period, I think it’s excellent they revised it to include maxipads with adhesive. I remember loving the book until I read about having to get a belt when I get my period. I had NO idea what Ms. Blume was talking about. I worried about it for a couple of days and then finally asked my mom, who explained that’s how pads used to be. For nostalgic reasons, I was really looking forward to that part, but I am glad they updated it to avoid panic in tween girls the world over.

realistic fiction

Reading Level:
Ages 9 - 12

self-identity, moving, religion, periods, friendships

Character Names/Descriptions:
Margaret Ann Simon: narrates the book; just moved from New York to New Jersey; is in the sixth grade; struggling with her religious beliefs; wants to be normal and get her period
Nancy Wheeler: Margaret's first friend in New Jersey; introduces her to Janie and Gretchen; heads up their secret club; lies to Margaret about a few things
Janie Loomis and Gretchen Potter: friends of Nancy's who become Margaret's friends; together the four girls form the Four PTS's (The Pre-Teen Sensations)
Laura Danker: girl in Margaret's class who is very developed; Nancy has told Margaret lies about Laura
Grandmother (Sylvia): Margaret's paternal grandmother' lives in New York; is Jewish and would like Margaret to also be Jewish; loves Margaret very much, but doesn't get along with Margaret's parents very well
Moose Freed: fourteen year-old friend of Nancy's brother; mows Margaret's lawn; Margaret has a crush on him

Margaret navigates through her sixth grade year learning about boys, religion, dealing with her feuding family and lying friends, and anticipating changes in her body that are reluctant to come.

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