Judy Blume has waited over 50 years to see her 1970 teen novel, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret get the big-screen treatment. And to say she’s pleased with the result would be an understatement. Appearing on Today to introduce the first trailer for the movie version — which premieres in theaters on April 28 — the bestselling author couldn’t hold back her enthusiasm.
“I love the movie,” Blume raved. “How many authors of the book can say, ‘I think that movie is better than the book’?”
Watch the first trailer for Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret below:
Blume also revealed that there was a strong possibility that her beloved book would never get the Hollywood treatment. “I said to my agent, ‘Margaret is off the table; I’m not selling Margaret,” she recalled. But then she received a letter from writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig that changed her stance. “[She wrote] a remarkable and passionate and funny, intimate letter,” Blume said. “She was very persuasive.”
It helped that the author had seen and “really liked” Craig’s debut feature, The Edge of Seventeen, an acclaimed 2016 coming-of-age story starring Hailee Steinfeld that had its own Blume vibes. While that movie is set in the present day, the trailer for Margaret confirms that the film will keep the novel’s 1970s setting as it depicts the title character’s first brush with puberty. Newcomer Abby Ryder Fortson plays Margaret, while Rachel McAdams and Benny Safdie portray her parents, who are clearly unprepared for the whirl of teen hormones about to descend on their house.
The trailer also makes it clear that Craig will keep the realism of Blume’s book intact, dealing honestly with Margaret’s fears — and hopes — as her body changes. Upon its initial publication in 1970, Are You There, God? became one of the first books aimed at young adults to directly address female menstruation and other signs of puberty. Blume went on to write about teen life with similar honesty in subsequent books like Then Again, Maybe I Won’t and Forever…, the latter of which is being made into a Netflix series.
But that honesty didn’t please all readers. In the 1980s, Blume’s YA books were pulled from library shelves among waves of conservative-led book banning campaigns. And the author remarked on Today that those campaigns are now back with a vengeance. “[They think] if my kid doesn’t read about it, it’s never going to happen,” Blume said. “Today, it’s even worse. … Book banning is back in a huge way, and a really frightening and destructive way, because it’s become uber-political.”
Fortunately, Blume’s book has multiple generations of fans who are guaranteed to show up for the movie version, as evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive Twitter reactions to the trailer.
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret premieres April 28 in theaters.