Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Review: Forever

Title: Forever...
Author: Judy Blume
Format: Paperback Reprint (2007)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 24, 2007 (first published 1975)
Source: Purchased

There's a first for everything.

When you build up something in your mind—really imagine it, wish for it—sometimes, when it actually happens, it doesn't live up to your expectations.

True love is nothing like that.

Especially not for Katherine and Michael, who can't get enough of each other. Their relationship is unique: sincere, intense, and fun all at the same time. Although they haven't been together all that long, they know it's serious. A whole world opens up as young passion and sexuality bloom.

But it's senior year of high school, and there are big changes ahead. Michael and Katherine are destined for another big "first": a decision. Is this the love of a lifetime, or the very beginning of a lifetime of love?

My Review

Okay... I feel like a fish out of water here because until this week, I'd never read a Judy Blume book. It seems odd for the girl who loved to read and then went on to become an English teacher, right? Well I finally fixed that, and I started off my education in Judy Blume by reading her most controversial books, Forever.

Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year's Eve party. At first, Katherine seems a bit aloof about him, but her best friend Erica notices that Katherine seems to like him. Very quickly, Katherine and Michael start dating and falling in love, but it seems like time is against them. They are both headed to college in the fall, and they need to make some choices about their relationship.

What I really liked about Judy Blume's Forever... is that it's really stood the test of time. Despite being written in the 1970s, it's still very relevant to teenage relationships today. Yes, the language is different, and readers will find themselves seeing phrases like "going together," and they are reading about two kids who have to call one another on landlines. But at its core, this book is about young love, and that's always going to be something that is a part of our world.

The plot of Forever... is one that develops as quickly as Katherine and Michael's love, and to be honest, it's mostly just about their romance. Don't get me wrong, there are a few surprises that are thrown in that make the book seem more realistic, but this is pretty much just romance. It starts off at a New Year's Eve party, and in under 200 pages, readers are seeing what happens during the summer before Michael and Katherine head off to college. To me, the romance seemed a little too quick to be realistic, but I enjoyed reading about Katherine and Michael.

Most of you probably already know that this book created a thunderstorm of protests when it was released because of the sexual content. In the book, Katherine questions a lot of things when it comes to sex, especially having it and what it would be like, but what I really liked is that she put herself in charge. She didn't just give in when Michael wanted her to. Instead, she made him wait until she was ready, even though he made it very clear that he wanted to be with her. 

I also liked the characters in this book and how Judy Blume used a few of the supporting characters as little lessons for her readers. Obviously readers are going to get to know Michael and Katherine a lot better than Erica, Artie, and Sybil, but that's because the focus of the book is on their relationship. I thought that the teenage characters in this book were very realistic - a little vapid, a little clueless, and definitely ready to grow up. I also really liked Katherine's family's involvement in her life and how they care about her.

The writing style in Forever... seemed very personal, almost as if Katherine were writing in a diary or writing one long letter and sharing it with the world. She feels like a friend to readers by the end of the book. I also really liked the inclusion of the letters to and from Katherine at the end of the book. It made for a unique and heartwarming touch.

Judy Blume's Forever... is a book that remains relevant today even with how quickly things change in this world. She wrote a wonderful book that teaches young women that it's okay to fall in love at a young age. I honestly can see this book sticking around for decades to come.

Judy Blume is the author of some of the best-known and most widely read novels ever published. Her novels for young adults include Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret., Tiger Eyes, and Deenie. Her bestsellers for adults include Summer Sisters, Wifey, and Smart Women. She is the editor of the anthology Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers. In 2004 she was the recipient of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She has also been honored by the American Library Association, receiving the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, which recognized Forever

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