Thursday, September 1, 2011

Margaret & Menstroo-ation

Why Margaret Gave Up Those Bulky Pads and Belts and Opted for a More Modern Solution

Are You There God? It's Me Margaret
was published in 1970. Just months after the book came out sanitary belts became obsolete when adhesive strip pads hit the market, leaving poor Margaret behind to struggle through the age old question: belts with pins or belts with hooks? Here she was, a modern girl of the early 70's trapped into using the same equipment I used growing up in
the 50's. A few years later a smart editor in the UK suggested that Margaret trade in those belts and pads for the new, more friendly Feminine Products. Until then I'd never guessed it was possible to revisit this issue once a book was published. But from that moment on, it was Go For It, Margaret! I made the few changes myself then approached my US editor, who readily agreed it was a good idea.

Some of my readers who grew up with the earliest editions of the book get angry when they find out Margaret isn't using sanitary belts anymore. (I think it's been at least 25 years since she has.) They feel cheated, as if my publishers are messing with a classic. I appreciate their concern - really, I do -- but in this case I disagree. We're not talking about historical fiction. We're talking about the millions of girls who have read the book since then, and continue to read it today, thinking of Margaret as their contemporary. For the purists among you, I'm writing a novel now that takes place in the early 50's and you can be sure some of my characters will struggle with belts and pins.

This is Part One of a two part blog. Stay tuned --