Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume is what I consider a necessary classic. The kind of insecurities and neuroses that only come in the middle school years need a literary counterpoint and Blume’s novel is it. Girls need to know they are normal*. As an adult reading Margaret, I need to know that middle school is as awful as I remember it being (I mean honestly, I dyed my hair with Kool-Aid and loved Delia*s – I’m glad there is little photographic evidence of this). So why did I love this book (despite no longer being able to relate to it and having no daughters to foist this on)? I will tell you .
01. “I must, I must, I must increase my bust.” I won’t lie, I totally would have been all over this chant. In middle school, I was referred to as “the wicked witch of the west with no chest**”. So…
02. There is always that one friend who has to be the best and do everything first. And while some things never change, it is wholly satisfying to discover that they are, in fact, normal.
03. A secret crush should remain secret.
04. Don’t judge someone you don’t know. I know pre-teen sensations can’t help it, but try. You never know whether someone is actually taking boys behind the local store and doing things she’d need to confess.
05. I cringe when I remember my middle school years. This book can serve to remind you that those years are as awkward as you remember them (age 12…shudder). It may also make you question your sanity, because why, oh why, would you want your period so badly? And for many of us, this is a feeling we experience again (a time or two) as an adult for vastly different reasons. Women spend an inordinate amount of time wanting something we hate having…
Pair this one with chocolate cupcakes (try these ones found on Oh Sweet Day), Margaret’s dessert of choice right before her first kiss.
I read this book in participation with Entomology of a Bookworm’s #BlumeAlong. Bring on Summer Sisters. Have you read Judy Blume?
*Though in the interest of honesty, as I write and publish this post on a Friday night, I still worry that no one will read it. So maybe we don’t actually outgrow some insecurities…
**in no way indicative of my personality…
11 thoughts on “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume”
Ah, the “we must increase our bust” chant. Good stuff. The only thing that saved me from being totally insecure about my flat chest was the fact that I was a dancer. I was okay with not having a big chest to take control of. Heh. Up until maybe five years ago, I was still having body image issues relating to being “too” skinny, though, due to the comments of others.
It didn’t bother me exactly, only when other people pointed it out – jerks that they were. Also, to complain, that is the first place I can tell when I gain or lose weight.
The secretary at uni always tell me to do “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” (not because I need it, but apparently it’s a good exercise for your shoulders when you’re in front of the computer all day).
PS. I always, always read every post you write, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Thank you! That actually means a lot.
And the chant might be worth a try, I spend way too much time sitting behind a computer.
I love this book and reread it as an adult and got all the willies from my middle school memories. Middle school really was the worst. I mean, I knew at the time that it wasn’t great, but looking back it was just plain awful. I probably would have chanted the bust song, too.
I look back now and it’s a wonder that any of us turn out even passably functional as adults.
My middle school self and your middle school self would have gotten along very well, based on your love of Delia’s and adventures in kool-aid hair dye.
Delia’s! I wonder if it’s still around. I felt super fancy when I got to order my 8th grade spring dance dress from there. I loved it, but my mom told me “it didn’t do me any favors”.
Oh man, that’s the worst. Occasionally I’d ask my mom if I looked fat in something and she’d say “you’re going to get mad at me no matter what I say.” Which meant “yes, but I shouldn’t tell you that you ought to lose 15 pounds because it’s bad for your self esteem.” Both statements are equally bad for self esteem, FYI.
A quick search says Delia*s is coming back as an online only store! #deliasforever
I didn’t even have to make that hashtag up, it’s front and center on there coming soon website.
I am definitely blaming my small bust on not having read Judy Blume as an adolescent. (Not that I’m complaining, really.)
I never died my hair with kool-aid (although I wanted to), but I DID put streaks in it with blue mascara from Claire’s. Oh god, middle school was the WORST.