For my children’s services class, we’re reading a banned book and then discussing how we would handle a challenge on this title. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, which I missed as a kid. I missed ALL of Judy Blume as a kid, mostly because I didn’t really care for realistic stories. I wanted old-fashioned stories, or magic and mystery. Real life, right now? Boring. Give me On the Banks of Plum Creek over Ramona anyday. Needless to say, these days I love realistic kids fiction. I just don’t (sshhh) love Judy Blume.
rating: 3 of 5 stars
Reading this for the first time as an adult, and as someone who is more likely to swoon over a children’s or young adult book than a grown-up book, I have to say that this one belongs to the pre-teens. Some books can capture adolescence perfectly, but also appeal to me as an adult. This one captured a few key aspects of adolescence perfectly, from questions about religion, to relationships with peers, to issues with your own body, and the writing was perfectly suited to the story. I think it’s a fantastic book for that audience of children who are dealing with those things – but I was bored with it. I’m trying to put my finger on why this title didn’t work for me, but something like Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree or A Crooked Kind of Perfect does work. It just didn’t have that extra something, or a zing to the writing, or a character that I was drawn to. I think this one is more a classic for the topics it covers, and its straightforward, approachable style than it is for its literary quality or memorable characters. And there’s room for both kinds of stories, thank goodness. You just won’t catch me rereading this one for fun.