Just in time for Women’s History Month, beloved author Judy Blume has finally greenlit Lionsgate to bring the classic girl’s rite of passage novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaretto the big screen. Since its publication in 1970, the iconic author has consistently denied Hollywood the rights to a movie, but now that Blume is nearing her mid-80s (though you’d never know it), she has decided we’re worthy of what’s sure to be a cinematic masterpiece:
So which of my books, kids and/or adult would you want to see adapted for series or movie? I ask because I’m in LA meeting with many talented people. I think the time has come.
If you’re not familiar with the book (you must read before the premiere), it’s a coming-of-age YA story of a sixth-grade girl’s search for god as she navigates the shaky grounds of puberty. With a Christian mother and Jewish father who choose not to raise Margaret religiously, and a group of friends who seem to be growing up much faster than she, neither feat proves easy for our outspoken little protagonist. The book has been updated several times since it’s original release to cater to the modern reader, but the heart of it remains a timeless classic nonetheless. After all… we will probably, unfortunately, always get our periods.
The film will be directed by the same woman responsible for the epic Edge of Seventeen film, Kelly Fremon Craig, who is an avid fan of Blume’s and is quite confident that she is the best one for the job of taking Margaret to the screen. This is all we know for now, but check back soon for updates, like who will play the leading lady!
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These days, YA novels explore all manner of dark and often controversial subject matter, not shying away from topics of mental health, addiction, sexuality, and grief. Readers might forget that bookshelves didn’t always look like this. Blume has always explored experiences that are paradoxically universal and yet still taboo: menstruation, masturbation, sex, and death. In the 70s and 80s, other authors weren’t yet willing to write about such topics… but teens were ready to hear their stories told. Blume’s work remains relevant today because coming-of-age is—and always will be—just as timeless.
To celebrate her enduring legacy, let’s take a look at fifteen of her most inspiring quotes on life.
1. “If being in love means giving up your freedom, not to mention your opportunities, then I haven’t missed anything.”
2. “I can’t let safety and security become the focus of my life.”
3. “It’s strange, but when it comes right down to it I never do fall apart — even when I’m sure I will.”
4. “Life is a series of unlikely events, isn’t it? Hers certainly is. One unlikely event after another, adding up to a rich, complicated whole. And who knows what’s still to come?”
5. “That’s not a bad word… hate and war are bad words, but fuck isn’t.”
6. “Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
7. “Anything could go wrong any day of the week. What’s the point of worrying in advance?”
8. “Some changes happen deep down inside of you. And the truth is, only you know about them. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
9. “Not everything has to have a point. Some things just are.”
10. “What’s the point of thinking about how it’s going to end when it’s just the beginning?”
11. “A person without curiosity may as well be dead.”
12. “Nothing matters but the moment. There might be no tomorrow, and, even if there is, nobody gives a damn.”
13. “You have to come to terms with your parents, your siblings. You can’t deny they ever happened. You can’t deny you ever loved them, love them still, even if loving them causes you pain.”
14. “The truth will make you odd.”
15. “Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret. I just told my mother I want a bra. Please help me grow, God. You know where.”
Many readers can recall Judy Blume’s books being a part of their childhood; it’s just a given. She’s produced so many classics with one in particular that stands out: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Now, the famous young adult novel is being adapted and we already know it’s going to be amazing.
Image Via Wikipedia
According to Vulture, the popular 1970 Blume book about teen and religious identity was offered to director Kelly Fremon Craig, who made the 2016 movie The Edge of Seventeen so nostalgic and loveable.I would know, I’ve watched that movie at least ten times. James L. Brooks, who produced it with Fremon Craig, will now join her again for this new project.
Image Via Microsoft
Although Blume has turned down countless movie offers, she seems to have had a change of heart back in August when she tweeted that she’d be open to the idea of an adaptation. After seeing the tweet, it inspired Fremon Craig to reach out. She took the time and “wrote a long and passionate email to her, telling her what her books meant to me, particularly Margaret, how it came along at a time when I needed it most.”
It must’ve been real convincing because Brooks, Fremon Craig, and Blume sat down together not long after to discuss movie ideas. All that’s left to figure out? Who will be Margaret?
The practice of banning books is nothing new —political, religious, and social organizations have led protests against authors and books for centuries —yet the practice is ongoing and criticism of it remains all the more relevant today. The debate surrounding this controversial subject has yet to find a conclusion —some people see book banning as unethical, while others see it as necessary at times. Regardless of the stance surrounding the issue, one thing remains clear: book banning has wide effects, good or bad. Banning books has a profound effect on the public and no one knows that more than authors.
Here are the responses of ten authors to the practice of banning books:
1. Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
It’s not fair censorship. Censorship is supposed to be imposed on the condition that vital secrets are being compromised…Writing is a vent or an outlet for human emotion and human experience, human understanding of the world, it’s always been that way. Human beings are able to speak and to write…People have the option of listening or not listening but if the government is saying you can’t do it no one has the option of listening or not listening. It’s imposed silence. —O’Brien, Knock Magazine, 2012
2. Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
There’s a part in the book where Charlie witnesses date rape and I always found it interesting because some watchdog groups always cite that passage. I always find it so strange that they do because so often in the past people would say that passage is meant to titillate.My response has always been rape is violence, not sex, so how can it possibly titillate anybody? If it does then that warrants a much larger discussion than a book. The entire book is a blueprint for survival. It’s for people who have been through terrible things and need hope and support. The idea of taking two pages out of context and creating an atmosphere as perverse is offensive to me — deeply offensive. —Chbosky, NBC CT, 2015
3. Stephen King, IT
When a book is banned, a whole set of thoughts is locked behind the assertion that there is only one valid set of values, one valid set of beliefs, one valid perception of the world. It’s a scary idea, especially in a society which has been built on the ideas of free choice and free thought.—King, The Bangor Daily News, 1992
4. John Green, Looking for Alaska
I don’t believe that books, even bad books, corrupt us. Instead, I believe books challenge and interrogate. They give us windows into the lives of others and give us mirrors so that we can better see ourselves. And ultimately, if you have a worldview that can be undone by a novel, let me submit that the problem is not with the novel. —Green, On the Banning of Looking for Alaska, 2016
5. Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
We have always liked banning. And Hitler and his cohorts started banning books and then to killing people. You have got to be very careful of banning. What you ban is not going to hurt anybody, usually. But the act of banning is. —L’Engle, PBS, 2000
Image Via The Wrap
6. Alice Walker, The Color Purple
I know what The Color Purple can mean to people, women and men, who have no voice. Who believe they have few choices in life. It can open to them, to their view, the full abundance of this amazing journey we are all on…And even were it not ‘great’ literature, it has the best interests of all of us humans at heart. That we grow, change, challenge, encourage, love fiercely in the awareness that real love can never be incorrect. —Walker, Guernica, 2012
7. Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
[T]hey never learn. The inevitable result of trying to ban something—book, film, play, pop song, whatever—is that far more people want to get hold of it than would ever have done if it were left alone. Why don’t the censors realize this?” —Pullman, The Guardian, 2008
8. Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. —Halse Anderson, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, 2013
9. Judy Blume, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
In this age of censorship, I mourn the loss of books that will never be written, I mourn the voices that will be silenced-writers’ voices, teachers’ voices, students’ voices – and all because of fear. —Blume, Places I Never Meant To Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers, 1999
10. Ellen Hopkins, Crank
A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
—Hopkins, Manifesto, 2010
What is your response to book banning? What are your favorite responses from public figures and/or authors? Let us know in the comments below.
Today is Judy Blume’s 80th birthday! The author interviewed with NPR this morning, speaking about feminism, the #metoo movement, and her own work, so check that out here! But rather than recap an interview any Judy Blume fan should take a peek at, we’re going to definitively rank our favorites of the author’s work!
Andrew’s determined to get freckles. His friend Nicky has hundreds, but Andrew doesn’t have any. He even pays Sharon for a secret recipe for freckle juice – a recipe that makes him so sick his mother thinks he has appendicitis. When Sharon’s mix doesn’t work, he draws them on with permanent marker and quickly regrets them. I related a ton to Andrew from Freckle Juice. My friends had freckles and I wanted them too. I would sit outside in the sun with honey or lemon juice on my face, not getting any freckles, but I did get a second degree sunburn.
Summer Sisters tells the story of Caitlin Somers and Victoria “Vix” Leonard, two friends that spend each summer together. Despite being complete opposites, the girls become closer and closer. Blume spins a beautiful story of two girls becoming women and doesn’t shy away from the intricacies and hardships of growing up, including sexual content and lesbian encounters. The book is one of few novels Blume wrote for an adult audience, and it’s a must read.
Blubber is a story about bullying. Blume shows the very ugly reality of teasing gone too far and how cruel both bullying and not intervening can be. Jill’s friends start bullying an overweight classmate named Linda after she presents an oral report on whales, coining the nickname “Blubber” and pressuring Jill to join in. It’s rough and tears at your emotions, but it’s a story that is all too familiar.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first of the Fudge series, and tells the story of nine-year-old Peter Warren Hatcher and his relationship with his two-and-a-half-year-old brother Farley Drexel “Fudge” Hatcher. This was one of my absolute favorite series, much to my older sister’s chagrin. I would always tell her, hey, at least I’m not as bad as Fudge! Not that that helped at all.
I think we can all agree Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is Blume’s most belovedbook. Margaret’s raised in an interfaith family, and the sixth-grader is in search for a religion she can call her own. The book also touches on other sensitive topics like puberty, finding and buying her first bra, her first period, and beginning to be attracted to boys. The book, originally published in 1970, was one of two books that got me through my own first steps into puberty. The other? The The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book.