Tuesday, October 02, 2012

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

The giveaway drawing for one of my crocheted bookmarks is below the author bio.

Are You There God? It's Me Margaret.
by Judy Blume
c. 1970
p. 149

The week before starting sixth grade 11 year old Margaret moves from New York City to the suburbs of New Jersey.  Full of the angst of a tweener caught on the edge of childhood looking into the abyss of an approaching adulthood as dreaded as it is desired, Margaret finds comfort in discussing all the changes, quandaries, hopes, fears, and regrets with God, prefacing all such monologues with Are you there God? It's me Margaret.  This is itself an act of courage verging on defiance as she'd been purposely raised in no religion by her parents who'd defied their own parents by marrying outside their faiths--the mother a Christian and the Father a Jew--and had given Margret to understand she would be free to choose her own religion when she was grown.

Growing up was the primary thing on Margaret's mind and she constantly urges God to speed up the process, to please not make her be the lost one in her class to fill out her training bra, to menstruate or to be kissed by a boy.

Upon given an assignment at school for a year long project on a topic of her choice she chooses to research religion so she can be better prepared to choose when the time comes.  She attends Temple with her Jewish grandmother and several different Christian denomination's services with various friends but confesses she finds the color of the women's hats and the church architecture more interesting than the sermons.

Along the way she encounters the fallibility of her best friend, her parents and her self when they betray her expectations of them--she catches her friend in several lies and her parents renege on a promise.  As for her self, she mistreated another student and is consumed by shame over it.  These three events occur one right after the other leaving Margaret reeling with the emotional fallout.  At that point she begins to give God the silent treatment breaking it only on the very last page.

I chose a Judy Blume novel for BBW because although I was in Junior High when Are You There God? first came out, I had never read a Blume story.  This was due in part to my being raised in a strict, puritanical Christian home and the title alone of this book was considered sacrilegious.

I remember shelving this book as a library aide in High School and it was kept on a shelf in the back room with the periodicals along with several others--books that required a permission slip from a parent to check out.  I knew I needn't bother asking for permission.  I also realized I had access to it and could choose to read it right there in the library while manning the desk as I had done with several other books I'd know would not meet with my parents approval.  But I was equal parts intrigued and nervous at that prospect as the implication of the question 'Are You There?' in the title was nerve wracking to me at that time.

It would be nearly 20 years before I made my own exploration of religion and now I wish I'd had Margaret's story to help me on that path. 

Read Shelia's review and see a collection of all the covers this novel sported since 1970

Judy Blume was born in 19838 in New Jersey.  She began writing fiction for children while her own children were in preschool.  So many of her titles for children and young adults have been banned or challenged in schools and libraries over the years she has earned the distinction of being one of the most banned authors.  Like Are You There God the many other contested books have contained controversial subject matter considered not age appropriate. Among them sex, masturbation, menstruation, rape, bullying, divorce of parents, religion, racism.


The winner of the drawing will have their choice between these two crocheted bookmarks.  The white and pastel is crocheted with size 10 bamboo thread.  The fudge brown and pastel is crocheted with size 10 cotton thread.  The crocheted section of the white one is six inches by 1 and 3/4.  The brown is 7 x 2 inches and sports a vintage button with a root beer sheen from the collection I inherited confiscated from my Mom which contains buttons dating from pre WWI through the 1990s.

The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada only.

Deadline is October 7 at NOON Pacific Coast Time

Enter by leaving a comment expressing interest on this post along with your @ so I can contact you.

Extra entries can be had by:

  • Following Joystory on Twitter  if you already do leave a separate comment saying so
  • Like  Joystory's page on Facebook   if you already do leave a separate comment saying so
  • Tweeting once per day (leave the tweet's url in a comment here)
  • Add Joystory feed to your reader.   if you already do leave a separate comment saying so
  • Following Joystory on Networked Blogs   if you already do leave a separate comment saying so

 Remember leave a separate comment for each task as the individual comments will be the entries that I assign numbers to in the order they are made and then use random.org to select the winner. The @ need only be in the first entry as long as the rest are easily attributed to the same entrant.

I will email the winner who must respond withing 48 hours or forfeit.

Hop on the BBW wagon at Bookjouney to see more reviews and giveaways all week:

Sheila's BBW Shindig

14 tell me a story:

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