Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review: Forever...

Title: Forever...
Author: Judy Blume
Genre: Contemporary Romance/YA
Published: Pocket/1975
Re-released: Simon & Schuster/2003

Nath's Re-Read Challenge

This is the last of the re-reads for the year and I'm glad I ended it with a book that was a favorite from my youth. Nath has said she will be hosting the re-read challenge again in 2010 but it will be a more casual challenge. You can find out about it here with more information to come in the following days. I want to thank Nath for hosting the challenge and for giving me some wonderful re-reading experiences. :)

From the back cover ~

Awkward, sweet, passionate, innocent, secretive...

Do you remember your first time?

Katherine and Michael won't ever forget theirs. They were seniors in high school. Totally crazy for each other, they thought they had found the one. It was first love, and it was perfect: long talks on the phone, ski trips, and double dates when they simply couldn't wait to be alone.

But was Katherine and Michael's relationship the love of a lifetime, or merely the beginning of a lifetime of love?

Relive the memories in this new edition of Judy Blume's classic and beloved novel. Fall in love all over again with Forever...

The two covers I posted are the original cover with the picture of the girl in the locket. That's the copy I had when I first read Forever... back in my early teens (14). The more recent edition with the red cover and lipstick kiss is the copy I bought a couple of weeks ago. There have been a number of other reprints over the nearly 30+ years since Forever... was first published. I wish I still had the original copy but I left it at home when I moved out years ago. It ended up being sold at a garage sale my mom had, along with some of my other books and my Breyer horse collection. :(

I have very vivid memories of reading parts of this book. Other parts are a little vague. Like I remember the ski trip and I remember the camp but I had completely forgotten about Michael's friend Artie. I definitely remember Ralph*. He still makes me giggle. LOL And I totally remember reading the first time Katherine and Michael had sex. After I finished reading that scene I looked around to make sure no one was watching me, which was stupid since I was in my room with my door closed. But still... then, I re-read the scene all over again, still in shock that they actually "did it". This, even though all of my friends and I knew there was sex in the book, that's why we wanted to read it! It still took me by surprise. Ah, my young sheltered life. LOL

The story is told from Katherine's POV. So it limits how much the reader gets to know Michael. I definitely think of this book as more Katherine's experience of first love than Michael's. Which is okay since it was written specifically for young women. One of the things that I remember most about the book, aside from the sex, was how mature Katherine was. How she made her own decisions and didn't let Michael pressure her into going farther than she was ready to. Katherine was smart and funny and responsible but not always willing to follow the rules. She could think for herself and wasn't afraid to voice her opinion. She was also kind and compassionate. Her relationship with her best friend Erica was a close one that I thought Blume did a good job in showing how that friendship changes when one person falls in love and begins spending more time with the new love and less with the best friend.

I did like Michael, both the first time I read it and now. He was a nice guy that like most teenage guys, thinks about sex, wants to have sex and is so happy when he gets to. :) Since we didn't get his POV it's hard to tell what he was thinking just from his actions and what he says. Michael certainly fell for Katherine and I think he treated her well. He made it clear that he wanted them to have sex and he did get frustrated at times when Katherine would only let him go so far, then tell him no. He's a guy and for guys, their sexual needs are very basic, and that off switch can be hard to find. But I never felt like he pushed her too far. He didn't pull the "if you really love me, you'll have sex with me" crap. Like I said, he did let her know when he got frustrated but he wasn't abusive.

That leads me to another thing about the story. The characters were average. By that I mean they were just like most teens with the usual problems. They have ups and downs but there's no violence or horrible tragedy IMO. Just life. There are a couple of things that happen that are not everyday occurrences but I never felt Blume used them for shock value, more to prove that bad things do happen and life does go on.

Katherine and Michael are both characters I could relate to. The first time I read the book I was younger than Katherine so it was more of a looking up to or "I'd like to be like her" kind of feeling. This time around I see her and Michael like the kids I was friends with in high school with the same fears and concerns that I had. I really like the realness that Blume brings to the characters.

The ending was different that what you might expect but again, I think Blume did this to show how things don't always happen the way you expect but life does go on. I think it was much more realistic and true to real life.

Giving this book a grade wasn't exactly easy. I have wonderful memories of reading Forever... and it definitely left an impact on me as a teen as well as an adult. It was a short, quick read. The newer edition I have is a Trade Paperback with 192 pages. I do wish the story was a bit longer with more time spent with Katherine and Michael. It seem to go by too quickly. So while the book is not perfect the flaws are minor and I still enjoyed the story and the message that Blume penned.

Judy Blume has written a number of wonderful stories for both the young and the adult readers. Deenie, Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? and the Fudge books were some of my favorites as a kid. You can find information on Ms. Blume and her writings at her website.

*If you don't know or don't remember who Ralph is - that's the name Michael gave his penis. When I read that the first time I thought "guys are weird" and I still think that today!

Rating: A-


  1. Oh wow. I so remember reading this book, too! I think I read it about a year after it came out. Soooo good. Like you, it was my first experience reading a sex scene. And it wasn't with married people either. It was right around that time that my mom decided it must be time to have "the talk" with me. I wonder how many young women have had the talk with their parents because they read Forever?

  2. Great review, Leslie. I haven't read that book, although I'm considering it, since Ames has reviewed not long ago.

    I think your point about the characters being average is interesting :D I think that nowadays, authors are trying to make their characters stand out too much... and it sometimes ruin the story.

  3. Lori ~ this is a book that stays with you, even after all these years!

    I have to laugh about "the talk". That stayed with me too but it happened about a year after I read Forever. I think my mom made it sound as clinical as possible to discourage me. :)

    nath ~ you should read it nath, I'd love to get your take on it. :)

  4. Oh my goodness!! I loved Judy Blume as a kid. My all time favorite of hers was AYTGIMM. I read it around the time where I was going through a lot of stuff Margret was going through and it helped me so much.

    I don't know if I could go back and reread it because I don't want to tarnish the euphoric feel I get when I think of it now. But since I don't remember reading Forever, I'll stop to see if it's on the shelf on my next library visit. It would be nice to revisit Judy Blume.