This was a book that was on my classic children's read list for children's lit which explains the longer and more techinal review. I guess I could also use it as a Tween Tuesday pick.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Release Date: Well, it originally released in 1970, but it's still around today.
About the Book: Margaret has just moved and is entering sixth grade. She spends the year trying to figure out religion, growing up, and making friends.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This was yet another book I somehow missed out on reading as a child. Honestly, the title threw me off-I thought it was a boring title and I was also a "good little Christian child", so why would I want to read a book where the character has to ask where God is? Yes, those are the exact thoughts that went through my head, which is a shame because I think I would have really loved this book as a tween.
The book was first published in 1970, but the overall themes of growing up and religion still are relevant today. There were a few things that would be outdated to today's readers such as Margaret mentioning records, but for the most part there wasn't much that dated the story. (I believe it had an update in 2001 to change some of the outdated words, so I'm not sure why they didn't change record!) You could place Margaret in any time period. I did find myself picturing Margaret in the 70's though, I think because I knew that was the setting the book was written in. I don't think a young reader would place Margaret in that setting though, especially since that time period most likely would not be something they would have much knowledge about.
Margaret struggles with her parents interfaith marriage and is not sure what religion she belongs to. She also talks to God, but feels like she can't tell her parents this. I think there are many children who struggle with religion and can relate to Margaret's struggle. There is a divide wih religions still today and I think there are children who might not feel as though they belong or understand their parents or friends beliefs.
The biggest theme that I think still remains true today is Margaret's growing up. She worries about when she'll grow breasts, she has to sit through talks on getting her period, and she's starting to notice boys. These are all things that girls, no mater the time period, go through. Although Margaret was really excited to get her period and talked about it with her friends-my friends and I did not want to get our periods! But we did hate "you're becoming a woman" presentations at school too!!
Girls develop at different ages and there's even a character in the book that is bigger and taller then the other girls in her school. There's also an emphasis for tween girls to look and act older, with magazines, movies, and tv shows, so I think tween girls could all relate to Margaret.
Even though it was written in a different time period, I didn't feel like Margaret's elementary school experience was all that different than my own in the 80's or my sister's in the 90's. The boy's teased her, the girl's giggled and gossiped, but this wasn't overly done, so it wasn't as though the boys were put in one box and the girl's put in another. I felt that Margaret and her classmates acted very much the way the same age still does today. Overall, I think the issues that Are you There God, It's Me Margaret deals with are timeless, which makes the book readable and relateable today. I would give this one to all tween girls to read.