I first read this book by Judy Blume when I was an about 12 years old living at the Naval Base, Yokosuka, Japan eons ago. My dad was in the military. My family had recently moved there. I was experiencing many changes in my life – from new home, country, culture, school, language, to finding new friends. Reading books helped me cope. While I had forgotten all the details about the story, I knew the main character deeply resonated with me. I remember how Margaret talked to God about the things she was experiencing in her daily life. And how can one forget the funniest line in the book, “We must! We must! We must increase our…” is forever etched in my brain.
When my friend Lisa suggested a ladies’ night out in the middle of the week to watch the movie version, I was apprehensive at first. It’s been years since I’ve read the book. Ok. Ages. I didn’t think I could relate to it again. Seemed juvenile to watch it now. I was wrong.
There were seven of us moms who went to see the movie at the Coronado Village Theatre. We all have older teens, about to graduate from high school. Throughout the showing, I heard frequent laughter and the words, “Oh. I totally forgot about that part.” “Are You There God?” is entertaining.
In case you haven’t read this classic book, it’s about a pre-teen girl who returns home from her sixth grade camp to be told by her parents that the family is moving from Manhattan to the suburbs in New Jersey. Obviously, she isn’t happy about the news. However, she tries to make the most of it. She finds new friends who introduce her to a girls’ only secret club, but Margaret begins to feel insecure about the things she is going through in her new home. To cope she starts to talk to God. She questions God about the spiritual and physical changes she’s having.
The actress, Abby Ryder Fortson, was perfect for the role of Margaret. She did a wonderful job with her facial expressions to convey all the different emotions, the angsts, fears, and joys of a girl coming of age. I was able to relate to Rachel McAdams’ role as stay-at-home mom Barbara, and laugh out loud as she attends her first PTA meeting at Margaret’s new school. Kathy Bates almost stole the show with her role as the hilarious but loving Jewish grandmother, Sylvia.
I highly recommend the movie. Go with your friends, your family, and especially if you have a pre-teen/teenage daughter. I left the movie theater with my fellow moms with big smiles on our faces, sharing memories of what it was like to be a young pre-teen as well as what it was like being a mom of a ‘Margaret.’ We all agreed that the movie adaptation is wholesome, funny, witty, and insightful.
Movie Times: Click Here
Director: Kelly Freeman Craig
Actors: Abby Ryder Fortson. Rachel McAdams. Kathy Bates
Runtime: 1 Hr 46 min.
Genre: Comedy, Drama