Sunday, March 14, 2010
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Genre: YA fiction
Published: Originally 1970, this edition edited and republished 2001
Review: 3.5/5 stars
Warning! **This review contains spoilers**
I remember reading this when I was about 12. I thought that if my mom knew what this book was about she'd be mad that I was reading it. I also remember it being much worse than it actually is. I could have sworn there was something about m**turbation in it (must be in some other book I guiltily read in my growing up years), but there was nary a hint of such things. I was so pleasantly surprised that I quite enjoyed reading this book and thought that I would pass it on to my daughter who will be going through the Maturation Seminar in her 5th grade class later on this month. Now as I'm thinking about it, though, there are a few things that I wouldn't want my 10 1/2 year-old reading about. I didn't like them talking about the older boys "feeling" Laura Danker (the tall early-developing girl in the class). I especially didn't like the way they talked about the teacher, Mr. Benedict, staring at her. That wasn't really the case, from my perspective, but one of the girls sensationalized things and put distorted thoughts into her friends heads. Actually, now that I think about it, anything that came out of Nancy's mouth, I didn't like. I hope my daughter doesn't have any friends like her.
The other part that I didn't care for is the treatment of religion. This idea that you let a child choose their religion when they grow up doesn't make any sense to me. It's too late by then. I could be wrong but it seems like it would be a rare thing for someone to grow up with no religious influence and then, when grown, decide that they will now welcome religion in their life. On another side, it bugged me that two of the few very religious people in the book were shown to actually be total jerks.
Now, having thought through all this, I think I will give this book to my daughter to read next year when she's in the sixth grade and then discuss it with her when she's done. I think that could be a good experience for both of us.
Rating: 2.1.1 I gave this a two on the sexual content because I think there are some underlying sexual tones that a parent should be aware of.