Bustle Book Club: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

bustle book club are you there god its me margaret

Last night, the first ever Bustle Book Club kicked off with Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The Twitter chat took place at midnight UK time, but there was no way I was going to miss out on that—so with the help of a couple glasses of wine to keep me awake and happy, I pushed on through.

I re-read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret earlier this month, and I could totally see why it had meant so much to me as a child. The wonderful thing about Judy Blume is that she was always honest with us about the hardships and heartbreaks of growing up—as well as the exciting stuff that we didn’t learn in sex ed! I was lucky enough to have very open parents who were always very frank with me—but for children growing up in the ’70s, Judy Blume’s books must have been absolute lifesavers.

In the Goodreads discussion group, a lot of people admitted that AYTG reminded them of their own experiences growing up.

“I related to a lot of parts of this book, but the first thing that came to mind was THE BOY-GIRL PARTY! I went to this dreadful party in sixth grade where we played Spin the Bottle but none of the boys wanted to kiss the girls. What did the boys want to do? Sing “Pour Some Sugar On Me” loudly together in a circle and then go outside and play basketball, sans girls. Sigh.” – Sara Shepard

“I’d argue and scream whenever the teacher assigned my seat next to a boy. All my friends were going through that “I-want-to-date-around” phase similar to Nancy in the book, but I was still stuck in the “BOYS-HAVE-COOTIES” phase. It was so embarrassing!” – Maya

“My friends and I were very competitive about bras. This was in fifth grade, and I so didn’t need a bra—but I felt compelled to get one because all my friends were!” – Sara Shepard

“All my friends were talking about these new amazing things called ‘bras’ and I thought I’d better get one myself!” – Kate


The Twitter chat last night was hosted by Sara Shepard, author of the Pretty Little Liars books—a series that presents an updated but ultimately pretty similar middle-school friendship group.

The Pre-Teen Sensations are like the girls I created in Pretty Little Liars—especially as they were in 7th grade. They were awkward, cliquish, obsessed with gossip, and immature. BUT they were also really loyal friends! – Sara Shepard

 

Q1. Who are you most like from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret? Or, for that matter, Pretty Little Liars?

The fact that everybody had an answer for this shows just how relatable the characters from both AYTG and PLL really are!

 

Q2. What summed up middle school for you?

(I had to ask what “middle school” meant; apparently it’s age 11–13.)

 

Q3. Did you have a good relationship with your grandma, like Margaret does?

I always felt Margaret’s parents were a little mean trying to stop her from having such a close relationship with her grandma. I could see how it was upsetting for them when she tried to push her religion on Margaret—but she was so caring, and Margaret obviously loved her so much!

 

Q4. Did you have a tight-knit group of friends in middle school?

 

Sara also took the time to answer a few pressing questions we all had for her…

 

And finally, she left us with some words of advice for aspiring future Judy Blumes!

 

Join the Bustle Book Club here—I can’t wait to see what’s up next! And while you’re waiting for the next book, why not join Catstello’s Feminist Book Club too?!

  • I remember being mortified because I thought you were supposed to tell your best friend when you started your period, since it was such a big deal in this book. So I did, and she was all, “Um, TMI,” not that we said that back then. We both had three big sisters, so maybe she just figured it wasn’t a big thing. “Then Again, Maybe I Won’t” was a very important book for me, since I knew nothing about how boys worked mechanically.

    • Oh no! I definitely told all mine! I was at boarding school though, so it was sort of a big deal that we all told each other!