Judy Blume has a strong reputation for writing excellent juvenile books and is also fearless in presenting controversial subjects which are generally problematic for young people … you know, the one’s you didn’t learn first at home from your parents but mostly by hanging around with your friends behind the A&P.
In Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret, Blume is able to approach big questions that bother pre-teen girls: school, new teachers, menstruation, breasts, bras, secret clubs, kissing, parents, boys, profiling, God, religion, grandparents, disappointment, Radio City, square dancing, and moving to New Jersey. For a simple little book the author packs a lot of life in its pages.
Too old to appreciate it? Well, if you have kids, especially pre-teens, this book might be required reading; otherwise, read it anyway to help you understand kids.
But after reading Blume’s novel, I once again began to wonder if we aren’t just brainwashing our young generations so as to assure they will be model citizens and follow the prescribed path to conformity and good behavior. Are we letting kids truly grow or are we more concerned with keeping the rows straight? Take menstruation: one of the rules of the secret club is that whoever gets their period must immediately tell all the others all about it. I can understand that this is a significant milestone in a young girl’s life but when I hear the cliché, “Now I am a woman'” I cringe. And to suggest that there is something wrong with them simply because they haven’t developed breasts is cruel.
I know that in our society, these types of events are important milestones in human development. But I suspect that bra size concerns and cotton-ball enhancements are signs of a societal conformity and not just of human development.