Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.

It wasn't as good as I remember it. But it was a good afternoon read. Actually, you can finish Judy Blume's little tome for pre-teens in about two hours.

And what better way to spend part of my afternoon, an afternoon upon which I felt like my fourteen year-old self who had to stay home from tennis lessons and watch soap operas because she had just gotten her first visit from the monthly uninvited guest. The cast of characters in Are You There, God, particularly Margaret and her three secret clubbers - Nancy, Gretchen and Janie - are absolutely obsessed with menstruation. And it's cute, because they're not misinformed, but they were so obsessed with menstruation that when they went to the drugstore, they just ogled the sanitary napkins. I can vouch that when I was twelve, the aisle I spent the most time in the drugstore was not the sanitary napkins aisle. It was the hair dye aisle. Especially since Rebecca Gayheart was the spokesgirl for "Glints" at the time. And Noxzema girl said I should buy Glints. So, therefore, I would obsess over how much my life would be different if there was a glint of rust in my hair. Or maybe cornstarch.

The dialogue in Are You There, God? is shifty. At times, the dialogue between Margaret and the queen bee of the secret club Nancy is very believable. Nancy notices everything about Margare'ts physique. Margaret answers without being too defensive, but still curt. To remarks about her flat chest, she says, "I'm still developing." To Nancy's assertion that she'll soon be a centerfold girl, Margaret remarks, "I'm not so sure...."

Did anyone remember that Margaret's teacher's name was Miles J. Benedict, Jr.? So cute. I'm not sure if I would have appreciated that when I read St. Raphael School's only tattered and near-forbidden copy in the 7th grade.

The whole religious rite of passage in this book is well handled, however. Margaret is on a quest to discover her true religion, since her parents have chosen not to raise her in her father's Jewish tradition or her mother's Christian tradition. The tides that trickle in between Margaret's grandparents bring a mature element to the story and lends a timelessness to this story which is copyrighted 1970.

But did anyone else think that there was a scene in the book where Margaret goes to Woolworth's with her friend and then sits in a dark movie theatre and holds a boy's hand? I know that this was in one of the teen books I read once upon a training bra, but I was so disappointed it was not in this one! If you can recall which book this might have been, please inform. My teen book shelves are lacking.