Themes and Characters
The Delano School and Margaret's family provide the important characters in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret Margaret's friend, Nancy Wheeler, who is so concerned about sexual maturation that she lies about having menstruated, and Laura Danker, a girl Margaret learns to dislike and envy for looking far more mature than she is, help establish Margaret's concern with sexual maturation. Margaret's more docile friends, Gretchen Potter and Janie Loomis, share this concern. So great is the girls' worry about bodily development that they lose sight of what they really like. When Nancy, Margaret, Gretchen, and Janie exchange their boy books, handsome Philip Leroy always ranks number one, even though he is lazy, crude, and nasty. For the girls it seems impossible to both be accepted by their peers as normal and admit what they individually respect and admire— in Margaret's case, the hard-working, honest Moose Freed.
Margaret's story could easily be subtitled "What Every Young Girl Should Know," since it is, in many respects, an information book about the physical and emotional changes girls experience before and during adolescence. The questions Margaret asks are questions every young girl has asked: Am I normal? When can I wear a bra? When will my period begin? Am I attractive to boys? Will I like kissing? What does a boy's body really look like?
Although Blume leaves some problems unresolved, she answers Margaret's most important questions. Margaret learns that she is, indeed, a normal young woman. She shops with her mother for her first training bra, even though they both know that she has no need for one. Mrs. Simon understands that to Margaret the bra is a necessity; it is proof that she will grow up, and it allows her to be like her friends. With her girlfriends, Margaret exercises to increase her bust measurements, and she talks endlessly about menstruation or "getting it." To satisfy her curiosity about the opposite sex, she and her friends examine pictures in an anatomy book and in Playboy magazine. At a birthday party, a game similar to spin the bottle initiates Margaret's first kiss, a kiss that means less to her than touching Moose Freed's hand casually at dinner. Eventually, Blume resolves Margaret's concerns about menstruation through the most natural process of all, the passage of time. At the end of the book when Margaret proudly exclaims, "I got it," the reader knows that Margaret has received...
(The entire section is 881 words.)
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