I read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret last week.
It was my first time, and I’m not sure why I didn’t pick it up as a kid. I do remember poring over parts of Forever with my best friend in junior high. To read Judy Blume as the parent of middle schoolers was a touch point, reminding me about feelings I hadn’t recalled in a while.
Until last week, I hadn’t thought about my anxiety about starting menstruation in a long, long time. Thankfully, I had great sex-ed classes in my Texas elementary school and my Massachusetts junior high (where they were co-ed!), and the lines of communication were open at home.
Even so, I was eager to know what it was really like. And besides, what did grown-ups really know, after all? On the bus ride to junior high softball games, I would ask an older teammate to French braid my hair so I could sit close as she talked openly with the other girls about all kinds of existential pre-teen issues.
Periods were regularly on the agenda – the discomfort, the smell, the embarrassment… but also the pride. There was no shaking my dread about the whole thing, but these fierce, competitive, ambitious girls whom I revered were proud of what their bodies could do, and that included menstruation. And last week, Margaret reminded me of the pride in this uniquely feminine rite of passage, and the sense of belonging that came with it.
For many of you, reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret probably felt like a rite of passage, as well.
We’ve got a copy of the newest edition, signed by Judy Blume, that we’re giving away this weekend as a part of Indie Bookstore Day celebrations on Saturday, April 29.