Forever by Judy Blume

Synopsis:

Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year’s Eve party. They’re attracted to each other, they grow to love each other. And once they’ve decided their love is forever, they make love. It’s the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine’s parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart…”Forever” is written for an older age group than Judy Blume’s other novels for children. It caused a storm of controversy when it was first published because of its explicit sexual content. It was a book ahead of its time – and remains, after thirty years in print, a teenage best-seller. America’s No. 1 children’s author has written some of the best books of our time about real-life issues – family stress and pressures, what happens when your parents divorce, the problems of growing up and sexual awakening, bereavement – with insight, sensitivity and honesty. The response of readers all around the world continues to make her one of the best-loved writers ever published.

Well I can see why this book would have shocked Judy Blume’s younger readers! I loved her books when I was 10 and 11, but never came across this one. The one’s I remember are full of innocence and fun…this one is full of sex! I think I’m glad I didn’t discover it when I was reading her books, I was too young to know about sex and love! This is definitely a novel for older teens, but I think it is a good book for those who are starting to explore life and relationships.

The story is mainly about Katherine. She is young and eager to experience life. She meets Michael at a party and they start dating. Soon they believe themselves to be in love and think they will be together forever. When Katherine thinks she is ready they start to have sex. Yet they are both sent away for the summer and during that time Katherine meets someone else who she feels attracted to. It is also whilst she is away that her Grandfather dies. Katherine had a close relationship with him and is devastated. Through the time away, the grief and the infatuation she feels, Katherine matures and has to find out if “forever” with Michael really is “forever”.

I liked how this was written. Katherine didn’t rush into sex and she asked lots of questions to help her make a decision. She also was sensible and used contraception, even going to see a specialist to find out about all the ways to stay safe. Personally I believe in no sex before marriage, but that is not a common view and I think Blume explored all options well. Her writing was wise and informative, as well as a fun read. Sex is not the only thing explored in this book but it is the main idea. Katherine has to learn how to deal with death and grief – something else Blume did delicately and realistically; and Katherine learns about romantic relationships. She is young and hopes her and Michael will stay together forever, but her parents don’t want her to tie herself down to the first guy she dates. Blume explores the idea of first love, marriage and forever in a great way, that gives advice and options to teenagers.

I liked Katherine. She had a good head on her shoulders. She asked questions, sought advice and didn’t rush any big steps in her relationship. She was a realistic teenager who had mood swings and had to learn to grow up. Michael on the other hand I didn’t like. I felt he was pushy, and although his feelings for Kathy seemed genuine, his main focus seemed to be sex. While they are both away for the summer he often makes reference to the fact what he is missing most is sex. It just made him a bit sleazy and I felt his intentions were wrong. I liked the authority figures Blume wrote. Kathy’s parents and grandparents are wise and honest – but also firm and just want the best for her. They are not scared to over rule her and help her do what is best. I thought they were vital to the story and very good characters.

This is a good book for older teenage girls who are thinking about sex and growing up. Blume is open in this book and looks at the act from many different angles and gives some sound advice. It didn’t take long for me to read and I can see why this is a teenage classic. There were elements, such as Katherine going forward with the sex and the character of Michael I didn’t like, but I don’t think that will put others off the book. I give this 3/5.

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