Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret was Blume’s first weighty novel attempting to tackle a major problem (or problems) she associated with her own childhood: moving to a new community, separating from family, and coming into physical maturity. Margaret, the story’s protagonist, relocates from New York City to a new town and school in suburban New Jersey. Though skeptical about her new surroundings, she quickly makes friends—an assemblage of girls who come to identify themselves as the Pre-Teen Sensations. It is among these girls that Margaret discovers the complex relations surrounding a variety of prepubescent issues including boys, menstruation, and petty jealousies surrounding girls who have had greater success with either of the former.
As the title indicates, the focus of the book centers around Margaret coming to terms with herself and her heritage as she tries to discover in what religious community she wishes to participate: Judaism or Christianity. Margaret’s mother, recovering from trauma at the hands of her proselytizing Christian parents, and Margaret’s father, shunned by his in-laws because he is Jewish, have decided that Margaret could choose her own religion when she is old enough to decide for herself.
Unfortunately for Margaret, “old enough” comes about through an assignment from her new teacher, Mr. Benedict, who assigns the individual class members a year-long study of something meaningful to them....
(The entire section is 491 words.)