Banned Book Review: Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret

Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret
Judy Blume
140 pages
Publication Year: 1970
Publisher: Yearling

Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret. We’re moving today. I’m so scared God. I’ve never lived anywhere but here. Suppose I hate my new school? Suppose everybody there hates me? Please help me God. Don’t let New Jersey be too horrible. Thank you.

A few days ago I was at the library and saw this book on the banned books display. I hadn’t read this since I was a pre-teen and seeing the title brought back so many memories of my life then, I had to check this out again.

For those of you who don’t know, the protagonist of the story is Margaret, an twelve year-old girl who has just moved to New Jersey from New York with her parents. She has the same worries that most kids that age have like fitting in, making new friends, and having crushes. She has a relationship with God, who she’s always talking to but worries about her non-religious status because her mom was born a Christian and her dad a Jew. She sees the way that religious differences can divide a family, sometimes forever. What makes this book a classic though is how realistic Blume makes Margaret’s growing pains. Margaret is at that ripe age where she starts to worry (and hope) over getting her period soon and her growing body. Blume doesn’t talk down to tweens and teens but talks to them with this book.

I have no idea why this book has been banned. Is it because Margaret has an open but non-religious relationship with God? Or the fact that she explores religion by visiting different places of worship? Is it all the talk about menstrual cycles and pads? No matter what the reason is, it’s not good enough to ban this book. Instead of being banned, this book needs to be given out to kids. Parents can use it as a starting point in discussions about crushes, religion, God, and more.  I plan on giving this book to my little sisters and daughter.

Have you read this before? What are your thoughts? What Judy Blume book is your favorite?

12 thoughts on “Banned Book Review: Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret

  1. I read this in kindergarten for the first time, and put it back because I didn’t know what a period was. Then I re-picked it up in 3rd grade and devoured Judy Blume’s books after. A lot of the stuff I didn’t understand, but still enjoyed nonetheless.

  2. I read this when I was in elementary school, and I couldn’t understand at all why Margaret wanted her period so much. In fact I still can’t – if mine had waited until high school was over to arrive, that would have been JUST FINE. Crazy Margaret.

    1. LOL! I was one of the last of my friends to get it but I wanted puberty to happen so bad because I was so short! But if it had waited until after high school to arrive, I would have loved it too! Less pain.

  3. I remember being ‘shocked’ by this book with all my friends when I was in middle school. “Imagine, someone has the guts to talk about periods in literature!” was the general consensus. We felt naughty reading it, and I was further shocked by my high school boyfriend’s mother reading adult Judy Bloom novels. Something about a woman and a guy with a motorcycle naked in her lawn? I can’t remember, it was all about thirty years ago, but Judy Bloom was at one time considered risque. Now? Probably not at all!

  4. I was obsessed with this book in 4th grade. With the periods and the increasing the busts, I thought it was the most risque book in the world.

    Now, more than 20 years later, I look back and am so very thankful I found it. It was so real to me (especially since I live in NJ) and showed me that books went beyond talking animals and could really be realistic to life.

  5. Oh wow! Reading this review was wonderful! I read this book many moons ago, when I was about 13, and remember loving it so much. I really think that Blume is an amazing author, and it’s incredible that she manages to get the mindset of preteen and teenage girls so right in her books. So glad to have seen this post. I need to get this one for my daughter!

  6. This books was important to me as a preteen. I was really anxious for a while about pads and how they’d work since they were the belted kind in the book. I listened to this book recently and was shocked that they modernized it…but I’m glad that the newer generation of readers won’t be so confused/concerned as I was!

  7. I only read this when I was in sixth grade so the only reason I can think of it being banned was because of all the period talk. I would love to read this now as an adult and see what my reaction to it would be (not banning that’s for sure) but I just know that this was a favorite book of mine and it introduced me to the wonderful books of Judy Blume.

  8. It really saddens me that some people have such a problem with the female body’s natural functions that they would want to ban a book that talks about them.

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