“We must-we must-we must increase our bust!” Oh, how I loved this book.
The most scandalous read of my pre-teen years. This is my original copy from 1980, autographed by Judy Blume herself, and my one of my most prized childhood treasures.
The cover is torn off, and the pages are frayed and stained from being dragged around with me everywhere I went.
I was barely 9 years old when I read it for the first time, a few years younger than Margaret, the book’s 12-year-old protagonist.
And looking back, I was a little too immature for some of the topics in the book. I mean, I seriously did NOT understand why anyone would even WANT boobs, let alone do exercises to make them BIGGER. Yuck.
I remember an older girl saw me reading it on the school bus one day and asked me if I knew what a “period” was. “Of course,” I said confidently, “it’s the dot at the end of a sentence.” I mean, I had already learned about punctuation in 3rd grade.
She laughed and laughed and then proceeded to tell my (increasingly horrified) self all the gory details of the “non-punctuation period”. I called her a liar while fighting back tears. The things you learn on a school bus!
I probably wouldn’t have been allowed to read it at that age had my mom been aware of the subject matter…puberty, religion and boys. The book was actually one of the most banned and censored of the 1980’s.
It was also the book that turned me into a diehard reader. The book that made me want to be a writer. After “Margaret” I quickly devoured every other Judy Blume book I could get my hands on, reading them each multiple times…and a lifelong love of the written word was born.
I was only kid I knew who actually got in TROUBLE for reading. I got in trouble for reading at the dinner table. Got in trouble for reading during family gatherings. Got in trouble for reading during church. Got in trouble for reading when my friends came over for playdates. Yeah, ok, that’s pretty rude I guess, LOL.
I remember, before we went on road trips, my mom would buy me a couple of books to keep me busy on the drive. But I would stay up late the nights before, reading under the covers with a flashlight, and finish the books before we even left.
“Ronnie!”, I would hear her yell to my dad the morning of our trip. “She did it AGAIN!” She read all the books and now she has nothing for the drive!”
Thank God for our local library, where I could spend hours between the shelves reading jacket covers, and leave with as many books as my arms could carry. For FREE. To this day, I love libraries, and the smell of them takes me straight back to my childhood.
And now my favorite childhood book has been made into a movie! Yes, more than 50 years after it was published, “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?” is coming out on April 28, 2023.
The movie stars Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, and Kathy Bates. It currently has a whopping 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Check out the preview here:
And you can bet I will be first in line to see it. And I will likely drag my two daughters with me, both of whom I made read my beloved 1980 copy when they were old enough.
So cheers to the books that shaped us, educated us, and let us escape into worlds different than our own. And thank you to the incomparable Judy Blume, who changed my life, and whose words I will never tire of reading.
P.S. I sent a copy of this post to Judy Blume, and told her I still have my signed copy of her book. Obviously, I didn’t actually expect to hear from her. A couple of weeks later, I’m sitting at my computer, and this email pops up.
And I literally screamed like a 12-year-old girl whose idol just acknowledged her existence…