Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume (Banned Books Week)

Twelve year old Margaret has a lot of worries for her young age.  She wonders if she will ever need anything beyond her training bra.   When the time comes to kiss a boy, how will she even know how?  And she is desperately afraid that she will be the last girl in her club to get her period.  As if this wasn’t enough, she also has a new home and a new school.  And where does God fit into all of this…


Ok.  I think I became a reader through Judy Blume’s books.  Ok…. maybe I started with my collection of Nancy Drews and then on to the Hardy Boys, but in those early years of double digits, Judy Blume was my author of choice.   I fondly remember reading this book and it was a pleasure to pull it out again for this re-read.

Judy writes well with her sixth grade voice of Margaret, page by page going through Margaret’s fears and hopes for her new school and for herself.  When Margaret’s teacher asks the students to share what religion they are, Margaret starts to wonder about that too.

What I love about this book is how Margaret takes her questions to God.  Throughout the whole book God is her companion and much like a voiced diary, Margaret shares it all.  The book is funny and sweet and a wonderful book for young girls as the are starting to ask their own questions.  I think this book would be a wonderful discussion book that could be shared between mother and daughter.

Reading this book again made me laugh out loud (all I am saying is six cotton balls…. ) and reminded me of the wonderful stories and characters I had found with Judy Blume.  It brought me back to a time when I worried about such things and it was good to read a book about a girl who had concerns like me.  :D

Check out all the covers for this book… how fun are they!


Did you ever read this book?  What cover was your copy?

Why was Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret banned?

Due to its relatively frank treatment of adolescent sexuality and religion, this book is one of the top 100 most frequently challenged books at libraries (i.e., books that have been requested to be banned), according to the American Library Association.

A fun FYI: This book was seen being read by Sawyer from the hit TV show LOST, on the beach, demonstrating his indiscriminate desire for reading material. He disliked the book, calling it “predictable”, with “not nearly enough sex”.

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on September 27, 2010, in Book Review, Book Stuff and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 61 Comments.

  1. i LOVED this book when i was growing up. we had the copy with the cover, bottom row, 2nd from the left. i still enjoy reading it to this day. i always felt that Gretchen got the short end of the book, there wasn’t much said about her. i don’t think her and margaret were that close. i would have loved for a sequel to this book.

  2. I have not thought of this book in over 3 decades. I remember really liking it and everything I could read by Judy Blume. I read this book in the 70s!

  3. I forgot to add I *think* my 1970s version was the first one, top row.

  4. When I was a child, Judy Blume’s books weren’t available in the UK. When I was 10 we went over to NJ to stay with my cousins who live there and my Auntie bought me this book, Otherwise Known as Sheila The Great and also Blubber and I fell in love with them. I took a whole pile of them home with me.

    Judy Blume is sold in the UK nowadays but her books have never been massive over here.

    • Book Whisperer that is interesting! About a year ago I bought Otherwise Known As Sheila The great at a sale. i remember how funny I thought that was as a kid.

      I have not read Blubber or Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing in years…. :D

  5. Aw!! This brings back such great memories! I worshiped Judy Blume growing up :o) I am pretty sure my cover was the 1st one?? Thanks for sharing this! Oh, and I do remember that “Lost” episode…Sawyer was always my favorite not only because he was hot as heck but because I love a man who reads :o)

    • Book Worm – I like shows that include books so of course LOST had my heart. Ever watch Gilmore Girls? Rory always had books always talked books…. love that! :razz:

      (Love the reason why you liked him…. I get that!)

  6. I loved this book when I was in 6th grade… back in 1978.. and have re-read it since. :-) I had the cover on the bottom row, the very last one.

    • Thanks Tabitha – the cover I featured at the top of the review is the one I had read from as a tween. The cover alone brought back memories of the middle school library where I hung out a lot and I remember getting library passes so I could play Oregon Trail on the computer….. :razz:

  7. I read this book growing up and remember it fondly. I always loved Judy Blume… not sure which cover I had, twas a library book and I think it had a book cover over it or something.

    Lost is one of my favorite shows and liked Sawyer for both reasons he was a hunk, no doubt and he loved to read. I loved the episode where he keep getting headaches and finally had to have glasses. Too goood!

    • Deb, great LOST memories…. now you are making my nostalgic…. this winter I plan on starting to watch all the seasons back to back… somewhere around season two I got…. errr…. well, Lost, and stopped watching them. I want to watch them all so I can fully understand the show (as much as one can anyway) :razz:

  8. Can you believe I never read this book until last year? I loved it when I read it – it just captures that age so well. Hooray for reading banned books!!

  9. i had the 3rd copy except my background was purple…
    the funny thing is as much as i loved this book i don’t think i read any of her other ones!! i moved on to all the ya (though that term wasn’t coined yet!) that were available in the scholastic flyers!

    • Diana, I was thinking about that that this was kind of our early YA…. I can not really remember which authors i went to from here as there was not a real YA category….. Danielle Steel maybe…..

  10. I read this with Niece #2 a while ago. Would we still have read it knowing it was banned? Yes.

    • Terry, the thing about banned is that it makes people just curious about books and I think much in the case of Twenty Boy Summer and Speak, it is making YA’s want to read them even more. :)

  11. I LOVED this book when I read it as a pre-teen! I seem to have blocked the cover of the book though.

  12. I read lots of Judy Blume, but somehow I think I missed (or skipped) this one.

  13. I really liked your banned book blog today. It was really interesting and informative. Thanks!

  14. Back in the time of dinosaurs (or when I was a kid!), I don’t think Judy Blume books were around. They may have been (I’ll have to research that), but they weren’t available to me.

    I read Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc. But later on, I read Judy Blume’s adult books. Loved them!

    I’m going to search for this one. It sounds delightful. And the fact of it having been banned appeals to my rebel core…lol.

  15. judy blume does have adult titles…..summer sisters has been sitting on my shelf for awhile now despiteone of my friends just raving about it!!!
    one of the titles that i remeber from the scholastic flyers was nobody likes trina….loved that one and i remember pretty much the whole storyline!!

    • Diana I read Summer Sisters quite a few years ago because it was Judy Blume. I remember not liking the story but I can not recall why…. it was before I journaled what I read so I have no notes on this.

  16. I never knew this one was banned. I read it as a young girl, because my name is Margaret. My cover was the main one you show. I always remember thinking it was neat to have a book with my name as the character’s. Also, I vaguely remember being intrigued because the book actually belonged to my older brother and has his name written in the front cover (he’s 12 years older).

    – MJ
    http://www.CreativeMadnessMama.com

  17. I loved this book when I read it in the fifth grade. Mine had the big hair cover (the one in the bottom row, third from the left) but it had a purple border. It’s funny how the covers of memorable books stand out so vividly in my memory.

    • Alyce – I know…. I loved seeing all the covers and how they have changed through the years to be more appealing to today’s youth. Its funny because the story inside is out dates, talking about women wearing hats to church and fancy dinners…. :razz:

  18. I know I’ve read Judy Blume when I was younger but I can’t really recall anything about them. I know I’ve never read this one though I always meant to.

    • My favs were Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing and Blubber….. wasn’t there one about freckles too?

      Oh and of course I loved Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great…. I thought it was so cool to have a book with my name on it….LOL

  19. Michelle-RedHeadedBookChild

    I had the one that you feature, I think. I got it through Scholastic Book Fair at my Catholic School, go figure. !

    • That is awesome Michelle! You brought me back memories of those little Scholastic flyers that we would get at school. I loved going through them and circling what i would like to read. :)

      Come to think of it…. now I do that with other book magazines….
      :razz:

  20. Can you believe I actually never read this book until last year?? For some reason, I never saw it as a kid, though I read many of Blume’s other books.

  21. I love this book, and did as a kid as well! The covers are so much fun.

  22. One of my favorites when I was an adolescent!! My cover was the bottom row, third from the left. The best thing about Judy Blume was exactly why she’s been banned so many times – she was one of the first kids’ authors to write in an honest way about real life as an adolescent, including all of the insecurities and questions.

    Great memories!

    Sue

    • I love that cover Sue! That one would call to me today! Judy Blume made me feel like I was growing up. She told fun stories and at the same time they usually had a message in them.

  23. I remember loving this book, but for the life of me, I can’t recall the details. I will have to pick this up again!

  24. I loved this book. I have read it many times over the years. :)

  25. Awesome review. I was a huge fan of this book when I was growing up. I ate up Judy Blume books like candy!

    It makes me sick that banned book lists even exist :(

  26. good review:) It has been on my TBR for a few now. Another book for me to wonder ‘why is it on the banned book list?’

  27. It would be awesome if you ever have time to add this review to the Banned Books blog. And any others from this week that you haven’t put over there. This was a special week, but books are being challenged all the time. You have done a fantastic job with this week’s posts! Thank you so much.

    • Thank you Bonnie – I have meant to get back there this week and I just didn’t make it. I will catch up and put the banned books that way :)

      • Hi. I’m so in love with Judy blume and all of her books. The memories and her books are absolutely magical! I really enjoyed seeing all the different covers over the years and I’m curious about which one was the very first. Do you know? I had the bottom row 3rd from left with purple background.

  28. I loved that book but I didn’t realize how bad it could possible come off to some people. =)

  29. Lauren Alessia Lopez

    I think this is absolutely OUTRAGEOUS! I think Judy Blume is one of the few authors who tells the truth to kids, instead of lying to them. Its not like she is making it up! All these things will happen to you. Girls get their period at the age of twelve. The start to notice changes happening to to their bodies. Also,, what is wrong with talking about religion? She is at the age when she starts to get curious about things such as what religion she wants to believe. I bet you that Margaret isn’t the first to wonder about this subject!

  30. I have the one on the top on the far right. It is very brittle because it has seen a lot of love.

  31. I had the copy with the cover pictured at the very top of the post. It’s so fragile now, I have it in a ziploc bag. I’m very sentimental about it, although it wasn’t my first Judy Blume book. I also loved Blubber, Superfudge, Forever….soooo many. Sigh.

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