Judy Blume, Forever in the hearts of teens and adults everywhere.
Forever… by Judy Blume
A book review by Kendyl Bryant
I’m 26 years old, female, and have just finished my first-ever Judy Blume book. It’s probably a miracle that I’d made it through adolescence considering her reputation for pivotal coming-of-age stories. But, for some reason, I just never picked one up. Thus, my reaction to Forever comes from a slightly different perspective than its intended audience and yet, I thoroughly enjoyed it all the same.
Forever follows Katherine, a senior in high school, from the night she meets Michael and through the couple’s experience with first love. The two share a hopeful, fun outlook and are determined to stay together when they head off to college the following year. But when they have to separate the summer before-hand for jobs in different states, their relationship is tested by distance and new friends.
Blume’s portrayal of first love is beautifully realistic. The way that Kath and Michael relate to each other and, at times, don’t relate to each other, brings the reader right back to the awkward, yet endearing feelings of being a teenager. Their relationship is so genuine that it’s easy to believe that they could make it despite constant reminders of how unrealistic that goal is. So many things said and done could have been taken right out of my former teenage life. And it seems to me, these same things would be relatable for today’s teens, as well. The simple honesty of the writing reminds the reader of those idealistic teenage feelings of first love and the hope that it can survive anything.
In addition to dealing with the emotions of teenage romance, Blume also tackles the physical aspects in a blunt, direct way. Michael and Kath slowly start to explore the sexual side of their relationship, which can be a sticky topic these days. In fact, the book is probably able to be more honest then current books for young adults as it was published in 1975. That honesty pays off wonderfully. While the couple’s relationship has its romantic moments, their sexual experience is not romanticized. It’s unsure and awkward and real, setting realistic expectations and not putting the experience on a pedestal.
I now understand why Judy Blume is considered one of the most definitive coming-of-age authors. Forever was written four decades ago and still it is relevant, even necessary reading for what teens experience. It’s responsibly age appropriate, but doesn’t pull back from telling an honest story about the emotions of teenage love and what it often involves. Forever is an excellent and fairly quick read for anyone currently in high school, or anyone looking to relive the idealistic sincerity of first love.
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