Author Name: Judy Blume
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Type of book: Young adult to Adult, Girls, religion, christianity, Judaism
Year it was published: 1970 (Have recent version though)
Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She's just moved from New York City to Farbrook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends- Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their firs periods, Margaret is happy to belong. But none of them can believe that Margaret doesn't have a religion, and tha she isn't joining the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don't know is that Margaret has her own special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything-family, friends, even Philip Leroy, the best-looking boy in sxith grade. Margaret is funny and real. As you read her story, you'll know why this book has been the favorite of millions of readers. It's as if Margaret is talking right to you, sharing her secrets with a friend.
The characters inside strangely reminded me of a non-fiction book called Queen Bees and Wannabees. (Anyone want to guess who's the Queen Bee? And no its not Margaret) I think it might have been nice if Margaret might have become friends with the well developed girl, or if we could have found out more about the teacher. Margaret is best described as neurotic and tunnel vision focus on her getting a period. I think it should have been longer, I really do.
The ultimate theme is that there is no middle ground in some issues, and that people have to take a stance. If a christian and a Jew get married, the child will have to be either raised one way or the other and not in between, and if they are in-between, they will have difficult time finding spirituality. (Interestingly enough, the Jewish characters in her book view Judaism as something superficial and not something that defines their identities.)
This is written in first person, completely from Margaret's point of view, and as mentioned she is very typical for her age and whanot. Her thoughts and actions are a bit predictable. I'm not sure what else to say.
Judy Blume is one of America's most popular authors. More than sxity million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into sixteen languages. She receives one thousand letters a month from readers of all ages, who share their feelings and concerns with her. (From inside flap)
As I'm sure that a lot of women can claim, Judy Blume had a huge impact on me as a child and adolescent. Hers were the first English books I have read when I first came to America from Russia. (At least when my reading skills got better.) I remember how in elementary school I would read her books every single day. I thought of this book as another one, that is I remember one of her books had a character going to a synagogue and singing "cantaloupe water-melon" to Jewish songs, and I thought this is the book. Although I found the writing to be very addictive, I think I might have had a problem with her ultimate message and the characters as well. This really will be a spoil. Please do not read unless you don't care for spoilers. [spoiler] Her ultimate message is that after age twelve, people will not belong or have a religion. I'm not sure if she is talking about half-Jewish and half-Christian kids or even full Jewish and full Christian kids. [/spoiler] Many Americans may not know of lack of religious worship in former Soviet Union. (The only things that anyone learns here is that Soviet Union was communist which means no competition and whatnot...) But schools never taught students about how people lived during those times, in particular the fact that Jews who were in Soviet Union had to give up religion and become Jewish in name only. I think twelve is too young to discover what religion you want to be, but sooner or later one will discover it. Let's also be honest that some people don't stick with beliefs they were born with. Some Christians decide to convert Judaism and vise versa. Some who don't believe in anything may become evangelical christians. Some evangelical christians might become atheists and so on.
2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)