Originally published in 1975, Forever was ahead of its time. Much like the work of Norma Klein, Blume used young adults in real situations. In this case the story of Michael and Katherine and an ill fated teen romance. In 1975, I was in sixth grade and this book was the highlight of Mrs. Peterson’s math class. I am not a great fiction reader. I rarely read fiction at all. But this book captured so many things in it’s pages. A young woman awakening to her sexuality. A young man falling in love with all its complications and angsts. A realistic portrayal of two parents who think they know what is going on but like many parents in that time really didn’t. It made me think of when I grew up in the 1970′s and the 80′s. So many things had changed from the time I was a kid until I graduated from high school. The role of women, the expectations of youth and a more sexualized society. It was what it was and it’s not for me to make a judgment on how it impacted anyone but myself but this book and a lot of Blume’s writing were helping young people cope. I also chose Forever, because it’s one of the books that makes the annual Banned Book List. Here at the Iowa City Public Library, we have an Intellectual Freedom Festival, where we celebrate those books that are criticized and censored. IFF also looks at the community and highlights various issues and themes of intellectual freedom in Iowa City and the surrounding area. Forever goes beyond locations, it is a book that has a universal theme, we all fall in love for the first time. What this book does is take that theme and also adds the complications of a sexual relationship. And not trying to spoil the book for you the relationship does not end in marriage nor is it forever. That is the reason that this book is often challenged. But look beyond that and read the story. While it seems very specific it is quite universal. Blume handles something that happens to most of us we fall in love for the first time we think it is forever and realize it might not be. Pick it up if you haven’t read it in awhile. I hope you do.
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Forever by Judy Blume
by Terri on September 10th, 2007