Rad Reads

The totally timeless life lessons we learned from Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

It's been fifty years since we first met Margaret Simon, main character and unapologetic It Girl of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. And while we're oh-so excited to see this quintessential coming-of-age novel *finally* hit the silver screen, there's nothing quite like the OG read—or, tbh, that feeling of finding a friend in Margaret. 

To say that Judy Blume has a way of speaking to your soul might sound dramatic, but her novels are way more than just relatable reads: Books like Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. remind us that the awkward moments moment of growing up (like getting your first period) are as unavoidable as they are universal (there's a reason why our sisters, moms and aunts all read and connected with this story, too).

From navigating crushes (hi, Philip Leroy) to dealing with family probs to just trying to figure out her life, Margaret's middle school experience feels familiar for a reason. So when you find yourself cracking up at her misadventures, you're kind of laughing at yourself...but in a really, *really* good way.

Just in time for the movie's April 28 release (stream the trailer HERE), we've compiled a few of our fave life lessons from Margaret and her squad, the Pre-Teen Sensations (and yes, we want to be besties with them). Feeling like it might be time for a reread? Brb, just grabbing our copy...


Lesson #1: It's OK to mess up...

We first meet Margaret just after she and her parents move from New York to the New Jersey suburbs. She's about to start sixth grade at a brand new school, and she has some (understandable) doubts about making friends and fitting in.

Instead of pushing those feelings down, Margaret starts a dialogue with God, despite not knowing whether she feels more connected to her dad's Jewish faith or her mom's Christianity. These one-sided conversations become a huge part of the novel—and as Margaret becomes more comfortable talking to God, we readers get a better look at her life.

Even on her worst days, Margaret's there to remind us that it's perfectly normal to make mistakes. In fact, it's kind of a huge part of growing up (and it can even be a little funny when you don't take yourself too seriously).

Lesson #2: ...and it's more than OK to have questions about who you are.

Over the course of the school year, Margaret tries to figure out where she belongs. She desperately wants to find the faith that's right for her and settle on whether she'll spend afternoons at the Jewish Community Center or the Y. But as the novel progresses, Margaret struggles to connect with one over the other.

Our biggest takeaway here? Sometimes those tough life questions have complicated answers. So the next time you're stressing over whether you fit a certain mold, take a lesson from our girl Margaret and show yourself some grace.


Lesson #3: You aren't alone in your struggles.

Margaret and her BFFs Janie, Nancy and Gretchen are dealing with a lot of the same stuff. They stress about bras (do they need them?), boys (can they kiss them?) and makeup (when can they *finally* wear it?). Their trial and error to find the answers is as heart-warming as it is hilarious, but the bigger truth? Good friends are always there to help you feel seen.

Lesson #4: Growing up doesn't have to mean saying goodbye.

We've said it once, but we'll say it again: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. is *the*
quintessential coming-of-age story. It validates those fears about becoming a teenager, but it also does a heck of a job of reminding us that change (from sixth grade to seventh or from middle to high school or from high school to…well, you get it) is just part of life— and we can take our support system with us. And in Margaret's case, her parents, school friends and Grandma Sylvia are only ever just a phone call away.

So the next time you're feeling stressed, lean on those you love. Breathe deep, remember who you are (and who you're becoming—she's amazing, btw) and, if you have a spare moment, crack open a Judy Blume book. We promise, you'll feel a whole lot better.

Click HERE to snag your copy of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

Header image: @waterstonesfarnham711
Slider image: @thenovicelibrarian


by GL | 5/23/2023