I first read this book in elementary school. Judy Blume books were all the rage. The above photo is my copy that I have had all these years. I recently re-read this and I have to say, I loved it just as much as I ever did as a pre-adolescent, anxious, self-conscious 6th grader in the early eighties. Different parts of it stand out to me now than did before and my adult perspective changes everything but I am still as impressed as I was then with the way that Judy Blume understands and remembers what it is like to be 12 or 13 years old. She is a brilliant writer and her stories are the epitome of honest.
Margaret is confused about a number of things. She is waiting, patiently but watchfully, to begin to “grow” the way that girls eventually do. She and a few girlfriends have a club called the PTS’s. (The Pre-Teen Sensations). This reminded me of a club I was in with my friend I talked about here. Our club was the PPTT. Private Place To Talk. We met in a little fenced in area in her back yard. I don’t remember specifically but I bet we came up with the name for our club after having read about Margaret’s club.
The rules for being in Margaret’s club are that they must bring a notebook with a list of boys to talk about, they must wear a bra and they must end their meetings with their mantra/exercise, “We must, we must, we must increase our bust!” There are embarrassing moments shopping for a bra, first crushes and waiting for the day she will finally start her period. These all seem cute and comical to the adult reader, but the pre-teen trying to find her way in her ever changing world and longing to fit in feels the weight of these concerns and so many more.
Margaret struggled with trying to find out which “Religion” she wanted to be. Her parents, one Jewish and one Christian, decided to forego pursuing a life of faith in order to keep the peace in their home and with their parents. But no matter how much her parents made their lives NOT about religion, Margaret was desperate to find her own answers and peace with it all. She prayed daily to God, pouring out her heart, questions and requests to Him. She visits a Jewish Temple, and a couple of other churches in hopes of “feeling” God’s presence but only finds herself bored with the sermons and distracted by counting parishioner’s hats and such. She finds herself angry at God when things are not going her way and thankful to Him when her prayers have been answered. She’s just like the rest of us who long to know Him and be known by Him.
“My parents don’t know I actually talk to God. I mean, if I told them they’d think I was some kind of religious fanatic or something. So I keep it very private. I can talk to him without moving my lips if I have to. My mother says God is a nice idea. He belongs to everybody.”
“But if you aren’t any religion, how are you going to know if you should join the Y or the Jewish Community Center?” Janie asked. — (that’s just hilariously brilliant!)
“Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret. I did an awful thing today. Just awful! I’m definitely the most horrible person who ever lived and I really don’t deserve anything good to happen to me. I picked on Laura Danker. Just because I felt mean I took it all out on her. I really hurt Laura’s feelings. Why did you let me do that? I’ve been looking for you God. I looked in Temple. I looked in church. And today, I looked for you when I wanted to confess. But you weren’t there. I didn’t feel you at all. Not the way I do when I talk to you at night. Why God? Why do I only feel you when I’m alone?”
“Are you still there God? It’s me, Margaret. I know you’re there God. I know you wouldn’t have missed this for anything! Thank you God. Thanks an awful lot….”
Can you guess what that prayer was about??
Well, there are a couple of reasons I can see why this book is relevant to LOST.
When we see the book on film, Sawyer is reading it on the beach.
Sun approaches him and says, “How’s your book?”
He says, “Predictable…not nearly enough sex…” (He’s being funny and just a heads-up, there is no sex in the book.)
Anyway, Sun is there to ask Sawyer, the island’s
hoarder drugstore, for a pregnancy test. She apparently missed her period. And there’s plenty of talk about periods in the book.
Also, faith and religion are explored and discussed often on LOST. Mostly the value of having a faith-filled belief system. Not necessarily an endorsement for any one religion over another.
So let me know readers, do you remember this one? Do you have memories of reading any other Judy Blume books? She was considered controversial but really, she just told it like it was with beautiful sincerity.
I leave you with the rest of my childhood collection.