Forever by Judy Blume
Note from Anisha: I grew up reading Judy Blume books. My mom taught the fourth grade, and along with her classes, I would read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Super Fudge, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. Until recently, however, I did not know that Judy Blume wrote books for older teens – books that were often on banned book lists for exploring teenage sex, homosexuality and masturbation. Reading Forever, which was first published in 1975, increased my admiration for Ms. Blume ten-fold. She took risks in this book, and dealt with topics that every teenager wrestles with. This is a must-read for any Judy Blume fan who wants to understand the full spectrum of her brilliance.
Kath is a regular girl who hangs out with her best friend, spends time with her family, and plays tennis. Then she meets Michael – a cute boy from a local school. They quickly fall in love, and Kat starts to think about taking their relationship a step further. How will sex change their relationship?
Although I really liked Kath, I was not very attached to Michael and Katherine’s relationship. It was – very rightfully so – very “high school”.
Feminist Score: Good Effort
For the most part, Katherine has the decision-making power in her relationship and with her body. She also has an amazing grandmother with very progressive views. I would give an A+ success in the 1970’s, but over forty years later (thankfully), we’ve gotten a little further. But thank you to Ms. Blume for leading the way in fiction.
Diversity Score: Between Not a Bit and You’re Trying
There is very little racial diversity in this book, but there is a gay character! In the 70s! So … it’s something?
Awesome Factor: Good Effort
For a book written in 1975, it has a lot of awesome factor. I’m not sure Forever would hold up as well if published today, but I have huge respect for a book (and author) that pioneered the way to have conversations about teen sex more openly.
Ralph. Just Kidding.
Grandma, the fantastic parental figure who understood the needs of her granddaughter and proves that age does not indicate stuffiness.
“In the hold days girls were divided into two groups – those who did and those who didn’t. My mother told me that. Nice girls didn’t, naturally. They were the ones boys wanted to marry. I’m glad those days are over but I still get angry when older people assume that everyone in my generation screws around. They’re probably the same ones who think all kids use dope. It’s true that we are more open than our parents, but that just means we accept sex and talk about it. It doesn’t mean we are all jumping in bed together.”
This line is timeless: it could have come out of a Cosmo article this year. I like that it identifies two universal truths about youth: Sex is on their minds, and their parents think they are having too much of it.
Fun Author Fact
Judy Blume is a bad-ass. Seriously. She’s 76 years old, sold over 80 million books, has been on banned book lists across the country, and writing another book. Plus she’s married to a man named George Cooper, who is our favorite character in the Song of the Lioness series.
Is this worth a book hangover?
Yes ma’am, especially if you’re feeling angst. Nothing like reading some teenage angst to remind you that … and least you’re not a teenager anymore.
Read these next:
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. Ms. Dessen writes timeless stories of first love. While they are a little less controversial, her characters are solidly real and relatable.
Post Author: Anisha
Anisha adores YA romance – and thinks that all love stories should start on the beach and end with the first kiss. Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.