Yes, like most women in their 40’s, I read this book when I was in elementary school.  It was “required” reading for any girl age 10 or older!  By “required” I mean, every girl was reading it….not that the school was requiring it!

So as a mom of an 11-year-old daughter (well she was 10 when we bought it), I decided my daughter needed to read it as well.  It is the perfect “coming of age” story for every girl!  Not only does it discus the puberty/changing body issue, but it also deals with gossiping/mean girl stuff and a real spiritual search!

When I was 10, I wasn’t searching spiritually; rather, I was very into my church and my spiritual path.  I loved this book back then, and I didn’t remember the spiritual questions Margaret asked in the book.  As a 41-year-old mom and reading this book again, I find the questions that Margaret asks are very profound and I see my own daughter’s spiritual quest to belong and even the questions my 21-year-old son asks today about God and spirituality!

As I read through the book in one sitting today, I was reminded of things from my childhood………like trying to sleep with curlers in  my hair.  Seriously?  I remember when hot curlers came out; I was sooo happy!!!!  Sleeping in curlers is torture!  I remembered how badly I just wanted to belong to the “secret clubs” (cliques).  Funny, at 41, there are still cliques and groups of women that I have a hard time fitting into.  You would think as we grow up, our mentality would too, but it doesn’t!  At least not in all cases.  I remembered what it was like to have a crush on an older boy (usually my older brother’s friends) and how exciting it was to share a car ride and a special family dinner with the boy of my affection included….I’m friends with one of those boys on my Facebook now.  *laugh*  I also remembered that first real kiss in the dark nursery room at my church……..

One of the things that really struck me while reading it this time around was the story line of the “most developed” girl in the 6th grade class.  “She’s been wearing a bra since 4th grade!” And the rumors about this girl making out with the boys…just because “she’s been wearing a bra since 4th grade!”  That was totally me…and it was totally unfair and a lie!  My heart breaks.  I know that some girls still get this today, and I am so very grateful that my daughter has not had this issue and I have not heard of girls getting this kind of reputation because of being an early developer!  I’m sure it happens, but not with the girls my daughter hangs out with.  I’m grateful!

Other than that, Margaret’s spiritual quest and her grandparents view on all of this could very well be what happens with my children and their own grandparents.  The grandparents INSIST that children are the religion they are born into; while Margret’s parents insisted that she would get to choose when she was old enough.  All the while, Margaret had her own personal conversation going on with God.  She felt the pressure from her grandparents…and even from her peers.  Kind of like my daughter gets from her peers and grandparents.  Thankfully, Omi Girl has a level head and has always had a deep spiritual belief and doesn’t change because someone tells her she needs to believe in a certain way.  She is  much like me when I was her age :).

At first when I decided to read this book for the blog, I really thought I was just reading it to get the book under my belt and count it towards my 52….but what I got from it was so much more!  It truly is a brilliantly written book.  Judy Blume has always been one of my favorite authors (even her more mature books).  I’m so glad I read it today; it fits in perfectly with this blog!

I would recommend this book to a mom and her little girl about to come of age.  It has great thoughts and conversation starters, and if you are open about your spiritual preference, it makes this book even better!