Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Forever by Judy Blume

I reviewed this one for my children's lit blog and I wanted to re-post my review here. I'd love to know if you ever read this one (as a teen or an adult) and what your thoughts were.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: Originally published in 1975, but still circulating today.


About the Book: Forever is the story of teens Michael and Katherine-from their first meeting, to their first date, and the first time they have sex. Of course they think everything will last, but will your first love always last forever?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I never had the chance to read this one as a teen, and I'm glad I read it now. While some of the story is outdated (Katherine's sister Jamie has a hobby of hooking rugs, the teens listen to records, Michael and Katherine are asked if they "go together") the emotional impact of the story still resonates today.
I remember my first love-I felt like Katherine-wanting to be with him, not caring about school as senior ended, and thinking that it will last. Ms. Blume captures these emotions so perfectly and she was able to transport me back to my teen years. I know teen readers will relate. It did take me a couple chapters to get into it-the writing style is very different compared to current YA books, but I think readers who are interested will stick with it.
The biggest complaint about this book is that it deals with sex, birth control, and teen pregnancy, and that the sex scenes are graphic. I honestly found the scenes handled in a way that I think teens will appreciate-they were honest and I didn't find them all that graphic. Compared to books like Gossip Girl, this book is tame. But I think that's what readers appreciate about it-this book is much more real.
As much as we would like to think that all teens have an adult to talk to or that they pay attention in health class, that is not the case. Teens also can get embarassed when talking about sex and I think Ms. Blume presents a positive look of a sexual relationship-she also gives options-Sybil gives her baby up for adoption instead of having an abortion. Ms. Blume never talks down the reader and tells them her opinion-she provides information and lets the reader come to their own conclusion.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from my personal library copy that I purchases at Borders.

8 comments:

  1. I've never read this one for some reason. I am going to one of these days. Great review!

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  2. I read this one as an adult too, in my YA literature class. The book is a bit dated -- I wonder if they'll eventually do a pass-through the text (like they did with Sweet Valley High) to update those pesky records.

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  3. I read this as a teen, then again as an adult, with my adolescent daughter. I wouldn't call it graphic. It was to-the-point in its descriptions of sex, but it strikes me as honest rather than salacious. I appreciated the fact that the author was straight with kids about teen sex and birth control. I also liked the fact that she delved into the moral and emotional complexities of teen sex, as in is this a commitment? -- what happens if the relationship ends?

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  4. Loved it. And I will give it to my daughters, dated or no :)

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  5. I never read it as a teen. The movies sucked me in as an adult a couple years' ago when I was flipping channels and heard an obscure song that was my mom's favorite in the 1970s :-). I've been looking for a book to help me open the lines of communication with my daughters regarding sex. I may check this one out to see if it will help.

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  6. NOOOOOOO they can't go back and update it! Maybe I'm just an unreasonable purist but NO!

    I think it terms of what's out there now Blume's book would not seem 'shocking' but at the time it was a big deal to write so openly about sex and because of that it was immensely valuable to teens (still remember the hymen scene from my teen reading). She helped pave the way for the more frank fodder teens can explore now so Blume will always be a bit of a heroine for me.

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  7. You're right Jodie, at the time this book was shocking. Even without updated language, the book still checks out frequently at my library and I think it's important for girls to get an honest look at sex and relationships because they won't always get that from other media or even home.

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  8. An enjoyable read Forever . . . by Judy Blume . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.

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