This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Are You There God It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume

This was a book I have read a hundred or more times as a tweenager. This was a defining book for me: entry into 'woman'hood. What that means? Growing boobs, liking boys and having my period.

Yes. This is a chick book. More importantly, a young tween chick book.

I recently bought the book for CJ to read. She seemed to enjoy it but since she doesn't share her thoughts often, I have no idea what she got out of the book.

And then my big girl book club had this as this month's book to read, which I was thrilled to do. I wanted to see how I would relate to this much favored book of my youth.

Well, it didn't work out like I had hoped.

It seemed less deep than I recall it being. I felt, in my memories, that I really KNEW Margaret and her struggles with her friends, her parents, her puberty, and the boy she would have a crush on.

But my recent reading of it shows that most of this is touched upon very 'lightly'. A few pages, paragraphs and that's it.

The worst part? The details were altered. I am sure they were altered to be more in line with *this* day and age, but I don't know...I didn't think it was necessary. But because when I read it in my youth, the details were still in my brain and when I re-read it and they weren't made me wonder how much more of the book was altered. I was really disappointed that they felt the need to do that. I mean, no one rewrites Jane Eyre to make it more 'with the times'!

The interesting part that I picked up on, however, was the religious aspect of the book. Funny that none of that ever passed through my head as a child. I mean, I probably accepted it as part of life but NOW, it seems to be a bit 'politically incorrect' to have tweens reading about an 11 year old trying to figure out what God should be to her.

BTW, I mean politically incorrect for THOSE OTHER PEOPLE. For me, I don't care. And actually, I appreciated this aspect of the book and how, I feel, it had to be pretty controversial, even during my younger days, to have an 11 year old talk to God about whether she should be Jewish or Catholic, with agnostic-like parents.

A quick check on wikipedia shows that this book, as I just stated, is usually requested to be banned from libraries. And in 2006, the 'belted sanitary napkins' was revised to 'adhesive sanitary pads'.

1 comment:

  1. I already had an old old copy of this book, so there were no changes to make the book more "modern." I can't believe they did that! I never did learn what a "belted sanitary napkin" was, and i'm glad of it. Sounds hard to deal with. What else did they change in the book? It was very much as i remembered it.

    Well, i say that, but i had a similar experience as you in that it wasn't as deep as i remember it being. I remember being so immersed in Margaret's world. However, perhaps it just isn't an adult book, and isn't meant to engross 30 and 40 year olds, but still does a good job engrossing the tweens. Hard to say, though. I think today's tweens may know more and may be exposed to more stuff than i was at that age (?)