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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 alternate Paperback edition.
"A convincing account of first love."
-- "The New York Times Book Review"
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Top Customer Reviews
Many of the parents and censors that I read about felt that students reading this book would promote sexual activity. It was pointed out in the New York Times article that just because a kid feels old enough to read about the sexual relationship presented in Forever, does not mean that that child feels old enough to go out and engage in sex themselves. This goes back to the idea that we as adults can predict and understand exactly how a book will affect a specific child. Children will take what they want from books.
This book is a slippery slope because it does contain graphic sexual content. Though I would point out that the sex between Michael and Katherine is ridiculously responsible: Michael doesn’t pressure Katherine, he waits until she is ready, they use condoms, Katherine takes herself to Family Planning and gets on birth control. Though young, they are enter into a mature relationship. Those points alone are enough for me, were I parent, to allow my child to read this book. However, I don’t believe that reading books will convince children to do things that they weren’t already considering. Just as I don’t believe that reading Harry Potter will convince children that magic is real and that there is no God, I don’t believe that reading about sex makes people have sex.
However, I can understand the reaction to this book, especially in light of when it was originally published. Not only were there different standards for the content of books at the time, but there weren’t as many books being published that pushed the limit. Were this book to be published today I don’t believe it would receive as much negative notice.
For those who find this novel too graphic or, dare I say, lewd, to you I say this: if you think your adolescent children aren't already having these thoughts and/or conversations, wow are you deluded. The fact that this novel neither glorifies nor vilifies sex, but succinctly portrays the twists of emotions tethered to the decision making process, more than makes it worth reading. What's more, it offers youngsters a window into the realm of "first love" and accurately suggests that "forever" is simply a word. In a day and age where teens are voraciously consuming books which tout the concept of forever and whirlwind love affairs, I appreciate that there is more honest, balanced literature available.