Title: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Author: Judy Blume
Official Reasons for Banning: Religious Viewpoint, Sexual Content
Hello nobody in particular! I don’t really have anything to say in my intro paragraph, so I’m just going to get this review started.
To synopsize this book isn’t quite as hard as it was for America. A girl named Margaret moves into a new town that has a very distinct religious identity, which is problematic for Margaret because her parents are agnostic, and she is, for lack of a better term, a mystic. For those of you who don’t know, mysticism is a type of religion centered around personal experiences with God. Now that you’ve gotten your random trivia of the day, I guess I’ll finish up the synopsis. Margaret tries to fit into the religious communities but FAILS, leading to confusion, drama, etc.
What’s my opinion of the book? I’m…torn. On the one hand, I think the books religious message is very unique, clever, and powerful. I appreciate this book for being able to talk about religion in a way that isn’t particularly biased or opinionated. It does take some shots at organized religion as a whole, but for the most part, it handles its message very subtly and fairly, and because the message itself is one of toleration and respect, it avoids stirring up conflict (at least, for the most part. It did make on the list after all). Other than that, however, the book kind of falls flat. The writing isn’t anything special, the books spends far too much time going over all the drama and angst that Margaret is feeling, the characters are boring at best, and most of the plot elements are predictable. Honestly, most of the time I was reading this, I was just waiting for it to become more focused on the religion and less on Margaret chanting to the puberty gods.
Overall, I give this one three stars and three hearts. The religion aspect is well done, but it’s overshadowed by all of the various cliches of the genre, making what could have been a great book into nothing more than mediocre. The next review will be of I Saw Esau, a collection of popular children’s stories. Until then, read more books!