Author: Judy Blume
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, 1975
Where I got it: I took this out of the library.
When Katherine meets Michael, she begins to feel things she hasn't felt before. Among these are sexual desires, and Katherine must decide if she's ready to lose her virginity. Forever... tells a sweet story of first love and sexual awakening, as well as taking responsibility for the decisions that go along with it.
Katherine and Michael's relationship is pretty accurate of how a teen's first relationship feels like. Katherine narrates her story in an almost diary-like format, telling us all of her experiences and emotions through this first serious relationship in her life, and her first real sexual encounters. Anyone who has been a teenager will understand what she's going through, even if they didn't have sex at the time (or still haven't). Readers will identify with the relationship aspect and the decisions that have to be made within a relationship.
Unfortunately I found the writing a bit bland. There wasn't much of a plot, as it was really just about the sex and, in essence, meant to educate about how to do it safely. What really bothered me was the constant use of elipses, which don't just make an appearance in the title. There might be pauses in real speech like that, but I don't particularly care to read it in almost every sentence.
So why am I including this as a Banned Books Week post?
Over the years, Forever... has been challenged many times, so much that it is number 8 on the American Library Association's top 100 banned books list for the decade of 1990-2000. The reason for the challenge is clear: Blume gives detailed descriptions of sexual activity and has Katherine go on the birth control pill. Yet, it doesn't out and out say all teens should go out and start having sex. Rather, Blume educates her readers on the proper precautions they should take should they decide to become sexually active, which, let's face it, many teens do (regardless of whether they read books like Blume's or not).
Instead of banning this book, parents and educators should take the time to talk to their children and students about sex. In fact, this book provides a great starting point for broaching the subject. They know what sex is, and they may have already had sexual experience. If it's not discussed and if all literature pertaining to it is banned, there is no way for them to know how to protect themselves. Sex is a choice that everyone must make. Some will decide to abstain, others won't. It has been like that, well, forever. So don't take the chance for others to learn away by taking this book off the shelves. It might not be the greatest literature out there, but it serves a worthwhile purpose.
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