One of the best-selling YA books ever has been made into a movie. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” was written by Judy Blume more than fifty years ago and it still holds up. I must confess I never read the book because I was already grown up and working by the time it was published but the experiences and emotions described in the book are universal and timeless.
Boomer women will love this movie and I can honestly say it exceeded my expectations. At eighty-five, Blume is ten years older than me but her story will resonate with our age group just as much as current 8-12-year-olds because it brings back so many cherished and familiar memories.
Directed and written (with the assistance of Judy Blume) by Kelly Fremon Craig (only women could have handled this project properly), the movie recounts the coming-of-age of Margaret, an eleven-year-old who is approaching puberty. It is an exciting and terrifying time of life when boys are becoming interesting, our bodies are changing, and social interaction with our peers is the guiding light in our lives.
I remember those days as clearly as if they were last week and can honestly say I would never want to relive them for a million dollars. I was a classic late bloomer. Flat-chested and skinny I was nearly fifteen before I got my first period and was beginning to think it would never happen.
When it finally did happen I was at my girlfriend’s place for a sleepover. I called my mother with the news from the extension phone in the bedroom of my friend’s parents so no one would hear me, only to discover to my horror afterward, that her brother could hear everything from his room next door.
My mother arrived with the requisite box of Kotex and a sanitary belt and said very little just like in the movie, while my friend’s mother gushed and made a big fuss over me about becoming a woman. Everything we needed to know we learned from the clinical instruction we received in health class and from our girlfriends. Our mothers were not particularly forthcoming with information in those days.
Back in the late fifties and early sixties when my friends and I were approaching puberty, I think everything happened a bit later than it does today. We didn’t get sex education until high school and we were not playing spin the bottle in sixth grade but perhaps my memory is fuzzy. That was a long time ago. The movie also featured stick-on sanitary pads which did not exist in our day. We had those lovely little sanitary belts that wedged everything up the crack of your bum. That was in the days long before we had ever heard of thongs.
I don’t want to give too much of the movie away, but there’s just so much about it to love. Abby Ryder Fortson is perfectly cast as Margaret, wholesomely plain and ordinary, just like we were. Kathy Bates is delightful as her Jewish grandmother and Rachel McAdams plays her mother. Margaret deals with further conflicts stemming from her father being Jewish and her mother Christian.
Round up your girlfriend posse and take in a matinee. We went to a nearby cafe for tea and coffee after the movie. That followup gab fest was just like one we would have had sixty years ago and enhanced our enjoyment even further.
I was going to wait for Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret to arrive on my streaming service but I’m so glad I made an afternoon of it and went to the theatre with my girlfriends. Start the car, girls and head to the theatre! You’ll be glad you did.
Do you have granddaughters or even great-granddaughters (!!) who might benefit from reading this book? It can be delivered directly to your door or theirs from Amazon for only $12.99. Click here.
(Disclosure: I may receive a teeny, tiny commission. Thank you.)
Absolutely loved this movie for so many reasons. A true trip down memory lane. The relationships, coming of age, even the the clothes, the furniture, everything.
Finally a feel good movie.
For sure! Had fun seeing it with you.
Never read the book but loved the movie. It was great to be in the big movie theatre again and to lose myself for a couple of hours to step back to the sixties & how things were back then. Although much has changed since then, there are some things that remain the same.
Fortunately for young girls, sanitary belts are a thing of the past! It was more fun having you laugh alongside me. Thanks, Gail.
Seeing it tomorrow. I read the book more then a decade ago and loved it!
I hope you’re going with other “girls”. You’ll love it. Thanks, Margaret.