Friday, July 15, 2011
Book Review of Forever...By Judy Blume
Author Name: Judy Blume
Publisher: Pocket Books
Type of book: Young adult-Adult, contemporary/historical
Year it was published: 1975
The story of Katherine's and Michael's love is a joyous one, filled with all the wonder of "the first time". THey meet on New Years Eve and become completely involved with each toher. It's an idyllic affair-until they're separated that summer...Forever...Katherine "faces an ancient dilemna: How can you love one person and still be attracted to another?...A convincing account of first love." The NY Times Book Review
This is written as a first person narrative, and its from Katherine's point of view. Katherine is basically a seventeen-year-old who falls in love with Michael. Unfortunately, despite the first person narrative voice, I could understand very little of Katherine and Michael. While reading this as well, I honestly didn't buy Katherine's willingness to be intimate with Michael. Throughout the whole time I think she was fearful and didn't want to do it. I also was curious about how Katherine would most likely be in 2011 so to speak. (The book was published in 1975...) and with whom she ultimately ended up with. Michael, well, he's a semi-normal teenage guy. (Semi normal as in normal with desiring intimacy, but not normal as in wanting to actually stick with one girl for the rest of his life.) At seventeen I had a first boyfriend, (not lover) and although I wanted to be with him for forever, he obviously didn't. Maybe its my own experience in life, (cynicism at twenty-five,) but somehow I have high doubts that a guy would want to be with a girl for the rest of his life at seventeen years old. Most likely, wouldn't they want to "sow their oats" first before finding a wife? For her time, I would surmise that Katherine would be a very challenging character to swallow. Also another thing is that Katherine's parents, or her mom rather, are very supportive of her, so why doesn't she turn to them out of curiosity? Why not ask them for advice? If for example they would have forbidden her to be with Michael or whatnot I'd get it, but they didn't, so I don't get it?
What are some themes for this book? Nothing lasts forever? Don't have high expectations? Life doesn't turn out the way you plan it? (Reminds me of a Yiddish saying my mom told me; Erh der shtract der Gott laght. (Humans make plans while G-d laughs). It's also kind of a relief that Katherine's first time with Michael wasn't good. From personal experience as well, to achieve the romance novel sex, one needs practice and time. When one is a teenager then it doesn't last forever, but what if you're an adult?
The plot is pretty detailed and straight-forward, but unfortunately despite the detail, there is something missing within the characters. Its hard to explain.
Judy Blume is one of America's most popular authors. More than sxity million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into sixteen languages. She receives one thousand letters a month from readers of all ages, who share their feelings and concerns with her. (From inside flap)
I didn't understand Katherine's reasons for wanting to become intimate with Michael. She strikes me as one of the women in Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. (To summarize, Genji basically had sex with these women, but it seems that all of them have tried to resist Genji's advances, and when it was time for sex, they froze and were frightened. In other words, the women in Tale of Genji had very little pleasure to enjoy...) And the whole romance with Theo happened a little too fast for my tastes. If there were more chapters devoted to that attraction, or if perhaps Katherine might have mentioned or at least suggested for Michael to do something such as she initiated kissing or whatnot, then I would buy the story. An interesting read overall, and I'm glad to find something that somewhat matched mine experience. It also would have helped if Judy Blume added an epilogue or something of the kind for Katherine. Does Katherine find her ultimate love? And how she might have developed and evolved throughout the whole time.
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)