Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret: Why Judy Blume’s taboo-busting books are ‘catching’ teens like no other

by The Insights

“We always viewed her as someone who could speak up on these issues and be listened to,” said Chris Finan, executive director of the NCAC. It is important to remember, he says, that all attacks on his books ultimately failed. His books have become bestsellers. “No one was writing about it at the time. There was a huge demand and thirst for this information.”

“She won that battle, which encourages us to believe that these current battles will also be won,” he says, referring to conservative attacks on books on LGBTQ issues.

It was only recently that Blume affirmed his alliance with the trans community. “Anything to the contrary is complete bullshit,” she said in a statement following an interview with The Times, which was headlined: Judy Blume: “I’m behind JK Rowling 100%,” and prompted online controversy.

Worthington and Michael believe Blume’s books remain so popular in part because the children who grew up in them now have children and even grandchildren. “If you’re reading a book with your child, it’s an opportunity to have conversations, bond, and bond,” says Michael.

This is only one factor, however. The books, while rooted in the times they were written, have a timeless quality because the things teens care about are largely the same and few writers understand this the way Blume does. For the podcast, Michael and Worthington read a lot of what they call “judy-adjacent” books, but nothing really matches up. “Judy has this special connection to the inner thoughts of children and teenagers,” says Michael. “She remembers how it feels, in a way that I don’t think many writers can.”

Are you there God? This Is Me, Margaret is now in cinemas in the US and UK from May 19. Judy Blume Forever is now on Amazon Prime Video.

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