(Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret)

jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG 2018

Why author Judy Blume’s classic novel still inspires fans

Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret was published in 1970

It’s been nearly 50 years since author Judy Blume debuted her groundbreaking novel, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret (AYTGIMM), and after years of turning down offers to turn her then controversial book into a film, she has finally agreed.

Who will be its stars is not yet known but according to Deadline, the author has granted the rights to the book to producer James L. Brooks along with writer and director Kelly Fremon Craig – the duo behind the coming of age film The Edge of Seventeen, starring Hailee Steinfeld.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was published in 1970 and is centred around 11 year-old Margaret, as she navigates puberty and questions her faith.

She then forms a secret club with her girlfriends – where they discuss and dissect all the important issues: boys, bras and periods. With the passage of time, this doesn’t sound far off some current WhatsApp group chats.

But while that may not raise eyebrows when looking at today’s world of young adult fiction, the book was pretty revolutionary when it was first published.

The book was a target of some censorship during the 1980s because of its sexual and religious content, with many calling for it to be banned in schools and libraries.

There were even allegations that it contained anti-Christian material (but doesn’t all that just make you want to read it more?).

“It’s rare for me to run into a woman or girl who hasn’t read it and every time I’ve mentioned it to a woman, they clutch their heart and let out this joyful gasp.

“This book comes along and tells you you’re not alone. Women remember where they were when they read it. I can’t think of another book you can say that about,” she continued.

BBC News spoke to some of Blume’s biggest fans, who shared not only how her words made them feel as teenagers, but how the author has gone on to inspire them.

Brenda Rufener, author of Where I Live, remembers discovering AYTGIMM as a pre-teen and being “blown away” at the book’s open and frank discussions on first kisses and faith.

“These talks were not occurring in my home, but they were words I needed to hear,” says the young adult fiction writer.

“Today’s generation of young women want thoughtful representation. They want emotional honesty. I think we get that from Judy Blume.”

She says Blume also taught her to “never shy away from tough or ‘taboo’ topics”.

And while the fan girl within Rufener is “incredibly excited” about the film, she is most thrilled to share this with her daughters, saying she thinks it will be “a tearful and amazing journey”.

Jody Worthington and Alison Michael of the podcast, The Blume Saloon, say they messaged each other with way too many emojis when they heard the news of the film adaptation and were “absolutely ecstatic”.

The pair’s love for Blume’s work manifested into a podcast that they started a year ago. Each episode sees them break down a chapter of Blume’s books, delving into the ideas they find and discussing pop culture and the events of the era.

Despite the book being nearly five decades old, both hosts say they loved the character Margaret and found her incredibly relatable, praising her “mixture of sass and insecurity”.

“She was the first protagonist who spoke to me on a personal level, she had flaws and frustrations and yearnings,” says Worthington.

“I think today’s young women are equally surprised by the book’s age.

“They might be comforted to know that 11 year-old girls have been experiencing the same trials and tribulations for generations!”

Michael concludes: “As long as periods are stigmatised, confusing and eagerly anticipated, Margaret will be always relevant.”

By Taylor-Dior Rumble

Read all about Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume by clicking on the picture of the book cover


If you want something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Thomas Jefferson


Happiness is… Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume


I spent the last three days, alone, trying to learn escapology. I need to get out more. – Pete Firman


Love is…everywhere you go


I Am I said – Neil Diamond

Highest Chart Position: No.4 12th June 1971


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