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Flashback Friday - Are You There God? Edition

Are-you-there-god-its-me-margaret book cover Judy Blume  Today's Flashback Friday is brought to you by interfaith marriage and feminine hygiene products.

Who among us did not quake with fear, upon reading Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret, to think they'd have to assemble a belt and pad every 28 days once they got their period? I know I was pretty confused at the very least, until my mother explained to me how in Ye Olden Tymes they didn't have adhesive strips and had to wear cotton napkins the size of phone books, held in place by belts that resembled bra straps.

Sanitary napkin belt - my childhood fear.
They tortured our mothers, do you see this?

Archaic menstrual products aside, Are you There God? was a fantastic young adult book about religion, puberty and adolescence. So tenderly and believably written, one could almost feel when reading it that Margaret was a real girl confessing her thoughts and fears to a God she's not entirely sure about. I remember wishing, like Margaret, that my breasts would grow (later regretting that wish when they kept growing), and that I would not be the last of my friends to get her period. I also remember that feeling, when you fought with your best girlfriends, that it was the end of the world.

I read a lot of Judy Blume in my single-digit years, but this book was definitely the one that stuck with me the most. Do you have another favorite Judy Blume book, or a memory about Are You There God? Hit the comments and tell me about it.

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Even though pads with adhesive were available, when I was in the 4th grade and we had our first "girls only" health lesson, they showed us the pads with the belts along side the adhesive ones... as if any of us would choose the belt?

I'm 34; my sister is four years younger than me and they had done away w/the belted pads by the time she had that class. Lucky me, just got in there in time to view those and be utterly confused.


I read Blume updated the pad usage in the newer editions. No more belt. That was what always stuck with me. I imagined it to look more like a belt you'd wear with pants. I'm so glad someone invented pad adhesive. That belt would totally show itself in the unforgiving styles we wear today.

cindy w

I distinctly remember getting in trouble in 6th grade because I brought my sister's copy of "Forever" to school. That was some pretty scandalous stuff for our 12 year-old brains.

Fawn Amber

I liked this book, but Freckle Juice was my favorite. Not sure if that was Judy Blume or not and am too lazy to google, but wanted to share. I hated my freckles - now I miss them, and the youth they represented.


Ah, Judy Blume...... The ones that stuck with me throughout time?? The ones I read over and over??
Then Again, Maybe I Won't (wet dreamz?? OMG!), Tiger Eyes (death? unrequited love?),
It's Not the End of the World (divorce!) and Forever (premarital sex?!)

All of them had profound effects on me.

I am sad to hear they updated the books - I really prefer books to keep details original, to freeze those things in time, you know? I will need to snag some old copies for my own daughter.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

"We must! We must! We must increase our bust!"

I loved Judy Blume. She seemed so honest about childhood/adolescence in a way that most other kiddie authors weren't. It was complicated and hard and often confusing - not bright and shiny and always happy.

I think my all time fave Blume book was "Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself." But I don't think I ever met a Blume book I didn't like.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


LOVED the Blume books and a half! I thank Blubber for making the word "flenser" still pop into my head at random moments.


Did she write a bad book? I LOVED Sally J. Friedman, Sheila the Great, and poor big brother Peter in the Fudge books. And, we ALL passed around a highlighted copy of Forever in junior high! How scandalous it was then, and how simple and innocent it seems compared to pregnancy pacts and how to get around abstinence teaching.


Yup, I still remember FOREVER for the "dirty bits". It dealt with the feelings of teenage love and lust and sex in a very realistic way. It wasn't preachy, but it did send the message that even though you may think you're in luuuuuuurve at 16 and decide to give up your virginity, by the time summer rolls around, that cute co-counselor at your camp just might make you forget all about that other luuuuuuuuuuurve.


I remember feeling so NOT like Margaret, in "Are You There, God?" I was one of the first, if not the first (we didn't really talk about that stuff) of my friends to get my period. And it WASN'T something I wanted. And it WASN'T something I was proud of. And it sure as hell WASN'T something I told my dad about. Hell - I didn't even tell my mom. She'd already stacked my bathroom cabinet with pads, so I just used them on my own. I remember needing one at school one day, and having to buy one in the bathroom's pad machine. I WAS MORTIFIED. Stood around, for what seemed like years, 'til the last person left. Hurriedly shoved my dime into the machine and turned the knob. Slammed the stall door shut. Opened the package...to find a pad that needed a belt! WTH? The school didn't stock adhesive pads! But I NEEDED that pad, so I just shoved it into my undies, and shifted uncomfortably for the rest of the day, as the pad moved about...praying that I wouldn't flood through.

And then there was that...necessary "fashion" of those days: when every girl had a sweatshirt tied around her house, for fear that she would, in fact, leak through.

I do not miss that time of my life. And I hope my daughter can get through it with more grace, comfort, and confidence than I did.


Blubber, for sure. I had a friend at the time who was a dead ringer for Blume's description of Linda. My friend's name, coincidentally (and, unfortunately) was also Linda. On my honor, the kids in my school were nice to our Linda, however.

Suzy Q

I've never read Judy Blume. Unfortunately, the beginning of my periods started at the end of that horrible era where pads needed belts. They sucked. You youngsters have NO idea.


Diana, I felt and did the exact same as you. One day during softball at p.e. I bled through my shorts. It was an f'ing nightmare. Periods suck.


After I had my first baby, they gave me belts and pads at the hospital. Gave me such strong flashbacks, I asked my mom to bring me my (ancient!) copy of the book and read it before I left the hospital.

But I loved all her books, every one of them, and was totally starstruck when I met Ms. Blume herself in Borders one day about a dozen or so years ago.


Funda62 - if you live in Southern California, we should totally get together and have a drink. ;)


(Did that sound weird? LOL. I just meant because it's nice that SOMEBODY ELSE felt that same way! ;))


I love Judy Blume and have read just about everything she wrote. As an adult I read "Summer Sisters" and now I re-read it every few years, finding I understand it better each time.


What about the special underwear that had the little buckles in it, so you didnt' need the belt? Uncomfortable!

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