So let's talk about this banned book. Margaret, 11-years old and the daughter of a Jewish father and a Christian mother, moves from New York City to suburbia just before the start of sixth grade. Her new teacher assigns the class a year long study project, which Margaret decides to do about faith because she herself is no religion and she needs to chose one. Margaret makes friends, hangs out with her grandma, and worries about bras, periods, and kisses from boys -- none of which she has experienced at the start of the book. Along the way, she talks to God, always starting with "Are you there, God? It's Me, Margaret..." as if God wouldn't a) be there or b) know who she was.
This book is brilliant and painful and funny and beautiful. Here's a passage that makes me laugh and breaks my heart at the same time:
“Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I just told my mother I want a bra. Please help me grow God. You know where. I want to be like everyone else.”I know, right? Don't you just want to cover your head or eat chocolate or burst into tears or something because this is exactly what puberty was like? Margaret has all the doubts, fears, and worries of a typical girl and Blume captures all of it. As a result, the book is full of 'tween angst but at its sweet center is Margaret just talking to God and trying to figure out her world.
So why is this lovely book banned? Censors seem to take issue with it's portrayal of religion (a political quagmire on a good day) and its frank discussions of boobies (the horror!) and periods (oh God no! anything but that!). Well, newsflash -- this is what little girls think about. Banning a book because it addresses growing up in a way that makes you uncomfortable is just retarded. ...and shortsighted because kids are going to think about these things and grow up whether you like it or not. So here's the deal censors (and I repeat myself): if you don't want your kids reading this book, don't let them. The rest of us will give our kids Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret in hopes that it will do for them what it did for us - arm them with a little more information and make them feel a little less alone.
One last thing... leave Judy Blume alone. This woman is a national treasure (and I don't mean that snarky), right up there with my BFFs Gwen, Michelle, and Tina.