Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret Chapter 20 Summary

Judy Blume

Chapter 20 Summary

A week later, Margaret’s mother gets a letter from her parents. When Margaret’s dad sees their names on the envelope, he freaks out. He demands to know how they even knew the address. Margaret’s mother admits she sent her parents a Christmas card, and this leads to a fight.

Margaret hates it when her parents fight. She shouts at them to stop, but they do not listen. She runs to her room and puts on loud music to drown out the noise. After a few minutes, her dad comes in and turns off the music. He says that she needs to understand what is going on, and he gives her the letter from her mother’s parents. Margaret takes it cautiously, unsure how she feels about reading the words of these other grandparents, the people who disowned their daughter just for marrying a man from a different religion.

In the letter, Margaret’s grandparents explain that they are growing old, and that they may have made a mistake when they shut their daughter out of their life. They want a chance to rebuild their ties and to meet Margaret. To this end, they are coming to New Jersey for a week's visit.

This letter disgusts Margaret, largely because it does not mention her father at all. She does not know what to say until her father mentions that they are coming on April 5th. This pleases Margaret because it means she will not have to see the other grandparents after all; their visit conflicts with her trip to see Grandma in Florida.

As soon as Margaret sees the expressions on her parents’ faces, she realizes the truth: they are not going to let her go to Florida. She will have to stay home and meet her mother’s parents. She pleads with them, but they say that she must be present for the visit.  

Margaret’s mother calls Grandma and says that Margaret's trip to Florida has to be cancelled. Grandma insists on talking to Margaret, who haltingly explains what is going on. She is badly disappointed, and she bursts into tears as she talks. The only good thing about this conversation is that Grandma acts very understanding about the whole thing.

In her conversation with God that night, Margaret says that she probably deserves to be punished after being so awful to Laura. But she points out that she always tries to do what she thinks God wants, and she made only one big mistake. She begs God to change his mind and let her go to Florida after all.