Friday, May 3, 2013

Flashback Friday: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

When I went home for Spring Break a little over a month ago, I found a box of all of my old favorite books from my childhood. It was exciting to see all of the books that got me into reading in the first place, and I thought about how fun it would be to re-read them and see what they have to offer me now as an adult. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume was not in my box of books, but I have very specific memories of reading it, so when I stumbled across it at a book store in the suburbs that sells books by the pound (!!) I HAD to buy it.

This book freaked me out as a kid. I think I read it around the same age Margaret is in the book, eleven on the cusp of turning twelve, and staring puberty right in the face. It's even become my go-to confession during school ice breakers to admit that this book freaked me out in the beginning stages of my adolescence. Puberty! Growing hairs! Smelly armpits! Menstrual Cycles!

The part that really got my wheels turning the most was the scene in with Margaret and her girlfriends (and the rest of the girls in their class) go to a special assembly to learn about their growing bodies. A woman from a feminine care products company is there to show them how to use sanitary napkins, and the sanitary belt that held it in place. Growing up, I was like "SAY WHAT? A BELT?" It all seemed like so much work. I actually just googled what they look like, because I don't think google existed when I read this book, and basically everyone should google it to see what women had to wear when their monthly came. The best part came when Nancy, Margaret's more mature and ready for womanhood best friend, raises her hand to ask the instructor a question:

Nancy raised her hand and when Gray Suit called on her Nancy said, "How about Tampax?" 
Grey Suit coughed into her hanky and said, "We don't advise internal protection until you are considerably older."

My, how times have changed.

Oh, and let's not forget the exercise that Nancy instructs the girls to do, which I thought was a REAL thing. They move their arms back and forth to push their chest together a little and say, "I must - I must - I must increase my bust!"

It was a lot of fun re-reading this book as an adult. Judy Blume tackled a lot of things for Margaret, because Margaret is not only obsessed with when she will 'fill out' and when her period will come, she's also confused about which religion is best for her and embarks on a journey to find the God she talks to every night. It was fun to read about how Margaret navigated the world of boys, and kept up with her cliquey group of girlfriends. Her voice is honest and bold. Even though some of the information is a little dated, it'd still be a valid novel for young girls to pick up today.

Do you remember reading this book? Any weird experiences with it like mine?

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't had The Chat with my mum before I read this - I think she was a bit cross Judy Blume got there first!