And the answer: Margaret.
Judy Blume’s best-selling 1970 novel Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret is about a young girl who navigates both puberty, and her own faith between her Christian mother and Jewish father. A film adaptation of the book is set for release in 2023.
Judy Blume’s classic preteen story may have turned 50 in 2020, but its message is still as young and relevant as ever. Drawing inspiration from her own friends at 12 years old, Blume wrote the story in just six weeks, covering awkward topics from menstruation to first crushes and everything in between. Interestingly, though the content of Margaret was never intended to be controversial, it has since been challenged in a number of different contexts. In her own words, Blume describes:
"I just wanted to be real. I wanted to be honest. I was small and not developed, and everything came later to me. So this was what I wanted desperately—and so does Margaret. To me there was nothing wrong with thinking about getting your period and wanting your breasts to grow. It wasn't controversial in my mind. It was just true."
Despite Blume’s intention, the book landed itself on the American Library Association (ALA) list of the top 100 most frequently challenged books—and remained there for decades. In the 1990s, the book was at number 60, and dropped to the 99th spot between 2000-2009. In the past decade, Blume’s novel has since fallen off the list (likely to Blume’s immense relief).
Yet, despite the challenges to its subject matter, Margaret was the book that changed everything for Blume. The novel took Blume unequivocally into superstar territory, and over the next decade she produced some of her most best-known works—including Blubber, Freckle Juice, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, as well as her first adult novel, the best-selling Wifey.
A film adaptation of Margaret is well underway, and scheduled to be released in late April, 2023. The film will star Abby Ryder Fortson as the title character of Margaret Simon, and Rachel McAdams as her mother Barbara.
Learn more about Judy Blume’s career and influence here.