Saturday, April 30, 2005

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

OK, now we're in true classic territory in my survey of Judy Blume books.

This is the story of Margaret Simon, daughter of a Jewish father and Christian mother, who struggles with determining what religion (if any) she believes in. As far as the title and the synopsis is concerned, that's basically the plot. But of course, the book is really about buying her first bra and waiting for her first period, and other classic traumas of sixth-grade femininity.

Like with the other books by Blume I've been reading, I have mixed feelings about this one. This was landmark stuff when it came out and it manages to avoid getting too pedantic at the difficult moments. But, once again, Blume is on a mission to deliver a message and the plot and the characters are pretty incidental to that mission. And then, there's the unmistakable style that she has whereby Margaret sounds like every other character from a Blume novel (even like the boys). That gets a bit tiring. I'm reminded of Phyllis Naylor's Alice series and of the smart move that Naylor made at just having the same character throughout, thus avoiding any problem with having so many allegedly different kids sound the same.

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