For more than 50 years, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” has been a guide for girls navigating the awkwardness of early adolescence and puberty.
The iconic Judy Blume novel that captured generations of young female readers will soon get the big screen treatment – and a trailer released Thursday offers fans a taste of what’s in store.
The trailer opens with Margaret Simon (Abby Ryder Fortson) and her parents leaving New York for the suburbs of New Jersey. As she enters a new chapter of her life, 11-year-old Margaret often confides in God, though she’s not sure about where she stands on religion.
In sixth grade, Margaret and her new friends are faced with the unique discomforts of preteen life. They squirm while learning about their changing bodies, they go bra shopping with their mothers, they cringe when buying pads in front of a male cashier. They try in vain to make their chests grow bigger and faster, chanting in unison the famous mantra from the novel, “We must, we must, we must increase our bust!”
The film adaptation, directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig, also features Rachel McAdams as Margaret’s mother Barbara Simon and Kathy Bates as her grandmother Sylvia Simon.
At a screening of the film in New York on Wednesday, Blume said in a conversation with Jenna Bush Hager that “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” was the most personal of the novels she’s written. She finished a draft of the novel in just six weeks, she added.
“It just spilled out,” Blume said.
After the novel’s publication in 1970, it went on to win several awards, though it was also challenged in some libraries and school districts for its candid discussions of menstruation and its negative portrayal of some Christian characters.
Despite the success and popularity of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” Blume said she was reluctant about it being adapted for the big screen.
“Right before I said yes, I said to my movie agent, ‘You can try to sell some of these books but not Margaret. Absolutely not Margaret,’” she said.
A persuasive and passionate letter from Fremon Craig, who also made the coming-of-age dramedy “The Edge of Seventeen,” convinced Blume to change her mind.
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” is set to be released in theaters on April 28.