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Forever . . . (Richard Jackson Book) Paperback – April 29, 2014
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"Going all the way" is still a taboo subject in young adult literature. Judy Blume was the first author to write candidly about a sexually active teen, and she's been defending teenagers' rights to read about such subjects ever since. Here, Blume tells a convincing tale of first love--a love that seems strong and true enough to last forever. Katherine loves Michael so much, in fact, that she's willing to lose her virginity to him, and, as the months go by, it gets harder and harder for her to imagine living without him. However, something happens when they are separated for the summer: Katherine begins to have feelings for another guy. What does this mean about her love for Michael? What does this mean about love in general? What does "forever" mean, anyway? As always, Blume writes as if she's never forgotten a moment of what it's like to be a teenager. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A convincing account of first love."
-- "The New York Times Book Review"
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Seventeen-year-old Katherine falls in love for the first time and discovers sex.
Rating older YA books (this was first published in 1975) much more difficult than newly published books because of both content and style. In my opinion writing is much crisper now than when I was YA age in the 70s and 80s, dialogue more realistic, pace quicker, characters more fleshed out.
Katherine has a somewhat passive personality. She was nudged, but not coerced into sex by Michael and although she wanted to become sexually active, I got the feeling he pushed her faster than she would have gotten there on her own. I was glad to see her proactive about birth control and although FOREVER was written pre-AIDS, the use of condoms to prevent "VDs" was mentioned. In 1975 pregnancy was much more a worry than disease and abortion had yet to be stigmatized by the media. Her parents pushed her to be a camp counselor and the guy at camp also pushed her. Only at the very end did she make an independent decision, but she only came to that decision because of the actions of others.
I have a feeling, in the Internet Age, teens who read FOREVER won't be in for the education I was about the details of Katherine's sexual experiences. Adolescents who are interested in period pieces might enjoy FOREVER, but I don't think those who prefer contemporary fiction will appreciate the historical significance of this novel on my generation. Middle agers like me will probably enjoy the blast from the past more.
THEMES: first love, sex, new experiences, coming-of-age, historical fiction
Forever is the story of young love between Katherine and Michael. Seniors in high school, they meet and cannot get enough of each other. As young relationships are wont to do, they get very serious about one another very quickly and their relationship becomes more physical in nature. The book follows their young relationship and blooming sexuality in a very real way.
I loved that the book had a very realistic teen voice, even when discussing adult matters of sexuality. Reading about sex from the viewpoint of teens is very different than reading about it in an adult novel, and Judy Blume nails the voice. I felt Katherine’s confusion as she grows more attached to Michael and felt her pain when they are separated. I think every girl has had a high school love that she couldn’t image being separated from.
I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will say that this is a wonderful book. It is well written and fast paced and brings me right back to high school. All the feelings of young lover come rushing back when I read this book. I love Blume’s straightforward style and the fact that nothing is sugar coated. even the relationship between Katherine and her parents is realistic and open.
From the standpoint of my banned books class, I can see now why Forever might be considered inappropriate to some schools. There are some very vivid sexual scenes in the book that might frighten a parent. I personally don’t think that books of any sort should be banned, and Forever isn’t presenting any material that high school students aren’t talking about or experiencing on their own, but parents and schools might be wary of putting those ideas into the minds of students who aren’t already exposed to them.
If you’ve never read Judy Blume, you simply have to read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, and then move right on to Forever.
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Judy Blume is used to writing children's books for small children.Read more