The Next Chapter·Dog-Eared Reads

Samantha Bailey believes classic YA novel Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret was a lifesaver growing up

The Toronto editor and novelist talks about the book she loves to re-read.
Samantha Bailey is a Toronto-based novelist, journalist and editor. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Dahlia Katz)

Samantha M. Bailey is a journalist and editor in Toronto. Her debut novel, the suspense thriller Woman on the Edgewas published in 2020. 

Bailey spoke with The Next Chapter about why the children's novel Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by American author Judy Blume is a book she returns to time and time again. 

"This book taught me everything I needed to know about puberty, even though my parents were extremely open. I was reading it through the eyes of Margaret. I was having all those same feelings and fears and wanting all the things that she wanted. I wanted so badly to be more developed than I was, because I was such a tiny kid who was a late bloomer. 

This book taught me everything I needed to know about puberty, even though my parents were extremely open.

"This book meant everything to me. Now that I have a daughter who has also read the book, though she's a bit younger, I'm watching it through her eyes and desperately wanting to talk to her about it — but she refuses and stomps out of the room. She does not want to talk to me at all about any of that kind of stuff. 

"But to know that that book is there for her, if she has questions and fears and worries and anxieties, also means everything to me. It's really one of the best books ever written."

Samantha Bailey's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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