"Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God."
A move from the city to the suburbs, sixth grade in a different school, a new group of friends. But Margaret handles it...in her own funny, endearing way.
For the first time since I'd started writing, I let go and this story came pouring out. I felt as if I'd always known Margaret. When I was in sixth grade, I longed to develop physically like my classmates. I tried doing exercises, resorted to stuffing my bra, and lied about getting my period. And like Margaret, I had a very personal relationship with God that had little to do with organized religion. God was my friend and confidant. But Margaret's family is very different from mine, and her story grew from my imagination.
Margaret brought me my first and most loyal readers. I love her for that.
When I finished writing I had no idea for a title so I took the first line in the book. If I'd known then how often I was going to have to say the title, I might just have called it Margaret.
To my mother, who was a reader. She bought me the Betsy-Tacy series, which were my favorite books when I was young. A few years later, she handed me To Kill a Mockingbird and Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, two books I've never forgotten.