Friday, September 14, 2012

Book #54: Forever...

Book #54: Forever... by Judy Blume
5/5 stars

After reading the often banned book Go Ask Alice, I was excited to explore more infamous banned books over the years. I figured I should definitely see what all the buzz was about concerning what may be Judy Blume's most famous (or perhaps infamous) banned book, Forever.... Originally published in 1975, this YA novel "has been the frequent target of censorship and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000 at number seven" (Wikipedia). Why has this book been challenged so often? The big "S" word: sex. Apparently adults think that teenagers don't know about things like sex and birth control, and/or don't need to be reading about them. However, besides the fact that this book was an entertaining story of high school relationships, it's informative, and that's something that teens need.

Forever... is the story of high school seniors Katherine and Michael. They're mid-way through the school year, looking forward to college and the future. When they meet at a New Year's party, there is an instant connection, and shortly after, they begin dating. As high school-aged kids will, they explore the ideas of love and sexuality together. There are a few graphic descriptions within the novel, but it's probably not anything that most high school students haven't heard about. Forever... goes into depth about love and how it may or may not tie into sexuality. Katherine struggles with being apart from Michael whenever they're not together, and says that she is in love with him, something that her parents doubt, or don't want to believe.

This was a quick read (I read it in one day), yet it was definitely worth it. It's definitely not the kind of book that could be read or taught in a school setting, but I think it's important for high school students to read about and understand different aspects of being in a relationship and what they are and are not comfortable with, as well as how quickly relationships can change. I don't think that this book (or any for that matter) should have been banned. I think that some kids are not mature enough to handle the content, but those who are will find not only a good story about the ups and downs of young love, but an informative novel that tells it like it is, yet encourages caution and intelligence.

Note: If you read and liked Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky, which is a more recent version of Forever..., you will probably like this novel, and vice versa. I read Anatomy of a Boyfriend in high school, and plan to re-read it soon after reading this novel to see how they compare.

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