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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Education!
When I first read this book it was controversial as it was a book for teenage girls that described sex explicitly and from the perspectives of a teenage girl and boy experiencing their first sexual relationship. At the time I was going through the same experiences as a teenager and really valued the book as something to relate to. It sympathises with teenagers when they...
Published on 24 Sep 2006 by S. Murray

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Forever - Judy Blume
Originally posted at Miss Inga Page.

I was asked to read Forever as a part of the “Young Adult” component of my Masters degree. I was fully aware of the novel and its subject matter… Hell, it was banned at my Secondary School (even though they had a copy in the library… you just couldn’t check it out?). I knew that it was infamous...
Published 8 months ago by Miss Inga Page


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Education!, 24 Sep 2006
By 
S. Murray "Nurse_Sooz" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Forever (Paperback)
When I first read this book it was controversial as it was a book for teenage girls that described sex explicitly and from the perspectives of a teenage girl and boy experiencing their first sexual relationship. At the time I was going through the same experiences as a teenager and really valued the book as something to relate to. It sympathises with teenagers when they really feel they have found "the one" and how this feels for the first time. It deals with issues of peer pressure, virginity and STI's and I think every teenager should read it. Great for parents to give to their teenage daughter to avoid embarrassing talks! It's also a really good story and guaranteed to make you cry at the end! We've all been where Katherine has! Heading for 22 now I really look back and value this book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 28 Mar 2010
By 
Ms. Amy Boyce (Lincs) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Forever (Paperback)
I am now 36 but still remember reading this when I was 15-6, yes there was a furore about it, none of my friends were allowed to read it. My mum was so cool, I was allowed to borrow it from the library and I still consider it a seminal text of my youth. It isnt up there with Dickens, it is not a work of massive literary content, but it is a work that is accessible by teenagers, spoken in a language that they understand about something that is scary at that age. Times have changed massively in the last 15-20 years, what was scary and unknown to me at 15 then, is not now but I believe this is timeless. I would still recommend it to teenage girls. And I recommend it to Mums that are a little nervous to get it for their teenage girls... you never want them to do it.. this will make it safer and easier.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think I'm speechless!, 6 Oct 2001
This review is from: Forever (Paperback)
i'm not speechless because it was a fantastic book, in fact, as most of Judy Blume's books are, it was easy to read, written in a simple, easy and fairly patronising way. What i like was the fact that Judy Blume wasn't scared to really describe sex. Many adults and teenagers feel embarrassed about this subject and i think that its good that there is a book out there telling the complete and utter truth.
This book handled many subjects that are still confusing for teenagers today even though it was written 25 years ago. The obvious subject was love and relationships, but also, drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, contraception, sex, friendship and depression.
This book is about Michael and Katherine falling in love, they take their love to the furthest level and then they are forced to spend a summer apart..........
This book does not end how you want it to do, but very realistcally.
Worth a read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book to all my friends, 27 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Forever (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book my mum had to pull it away from me at midnight because i was still reading it. i know a good book when i read one and this is definety one of them. It is'nt for a child younger than 12 its definetly for a teenager as it say on the cover its self! i read in 2 days which means how good it was. If you are the romantic type and love novels that are romantic this is the book for you i really do advise you to read it!!I like the way 'Judy Blume' hasnt been afraid to use BAD LANGUAGE!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favourite, 26 Feb 2000
By A Customer
I first read this book aged 13. Now I'm 20 years old and it still takes pride of place on my book shelf. EVERY young adult should read this book. I know of many adults alike who have also read it and enjoyed it greatly. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it's still after all these years 1 of my all time favourites...and very true to life.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have book to read and re-read!, 8 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Forever: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is one of the best books i have ever read, and one i shall probably read again. Gives an interesting insight into a youngsters life and the discovery of the opposite sex. Beautifully writen and with a brilliant story line. If you only read 1 book this year make sure it's this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forever, 19 May 2014
By 
Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Forever (Paperback)
Forever was first published in the 1970's and was surrounded by a huge amount of controversy because of Judy Blume's realistic (and fairly graphic) portrayal of teenage sex and relationships. Compared to the kind of YA books we see published today it doesn't have the same shock factor that it did at that time but even when I first read the story (back in the 90's) it was one of a very small minority of books aimed at teenagers. As a teen I knew that picking up a book by Judy Blume I was going to get a story with characters who I could relate to and about relationships that were relevant to the things I was experiencing at the time so I read all of her books over and over again.

I was nervous about reading this book again now, after all it's been 20 years since I read it last and I was worried that it would be outdated. To be honest in a lot of ways it is, there is no mention of mobile phones or the internet, something that didn't matter when I first read it because they weren't common then either but that teenagers today will probably raise their eyes at! I don't think you get many 17 year olds meeting up to play backgammon and scrabble at fondue parties with their friends these days (even the dirty word variety) when they could be on the PlayStation or Xbox or out clubbing instead so there are some parts of the story that new readers won't necessarily connect to.

However, the important part of the story, the realistic look at first relationships - falling in love and thinking it will last forever, deciding when you're ready to have sex for the first time, how to deal with heartbreak - all of that is still just as relevant today as it was in the 70's. The latest version has a note from the author at the beginning talking about how birth control methods have changed and raising the point that it just as vital to protect from diseases by using condoms as it is to protect from pregnancy by using the pill (which is the method most girls prefer in the story) but what I enjoyed most was that it shows a much more lifelike version of sex than most novels.

The sex in Forever isn't perfect, it's messy and complicated but that's what makes it true to life. Most people's first time isn't all sunshine and roses, even if you're with a partner you love - especially if you're both fairly inexperienced. Boys don't always last forever and girls don't always orgasm but there is nothing wrong with that. This is the kind of book that will give teenagers realistic expectations about sex and how even if the first few times are a disaster that doesn't mean it won't get better. Practice really does make perfect in this case, especially if you're with someone who is willing to work at it!

I also love the message that Judy Blume sends about never letting anyone pressure you into doing something you're uncomfortable with. You are the only person who can decide if and when you're ready to take that step and there is nothing wrong with wanting to wait. Kath's reaction to her ex-boyfriend says it all:

"Sex was all he was ever interested in, which is why we broke up - because he threatened that if I wouldn't sleep with him he'd find somebody who would. I told him that if that was all he cared about he should go right ahead."

There are so many books aimed at teenagers these days that talk about similar issues and probably do so in a way that modern teenagers will find easier to relate to but Judy Blume had such a huge impact on teenage me and I will always love her for that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Forever - Judy Blume, 26 April 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Originally posted at Miss Inga Page.

I was asked to read Forever as a part of the “Young Adult” component of my Masters degree. I was fully aware of the novel and its subject matter… Hell, it was banned at my Secondary School (even though they had a copy in the library… you just couldn’t check it out?). I knew that it was infamous for its “racy” nature, but I really had no great interest in reading it. But I had to this year, and was under no illusion as to what I was getting myself into, since my course convenor gave us an excerpt (involving Ralph) in a previous class…

Forever tells the story of two teenagers over the course of a number of months, from their first meeting, through their first kiss and more. We live the highs and lows of their relationship through the eyes of Katherine, the female protagonist. Katherine meets Michael at a party and they instantly hit it off. The rest, as they say, is history.

Forever was published in 1975, at the request of Blume’s daughter, who wanted a no-holds-barred book about first relationships and everything that comes with the territory. Forever is Blume’s response. At the time of its publication, Forever was incredibly scandalous, and remains one of the most banned books of all time. As a reader in 2014, it had much less of an impact on me – but I can appreciate the fact that things were very different at the time of publication. For that reason, I’m choosing to, largely, ignore the overtly sexual aspects of the novel in my assessment of the quality of the text, and focus more on the story itself.

Unfortunately, however, there was not much “plot” to speak of. Forever felt, to me, like a guide-book (which, I suppose, it was). It felt as though Blume was going down a check-list and ticking off all of the things that she thought her daughter should know about – from feeling pressured into having sex, to her first visit to the clinic (and the need to be conscious of contraception and of sexual diseases), to the risk of pregnancy. At times, it also read like a guidebook on teenage relationships – from an adult perspective. Katherine is repeatedly told by her parents that she should consider dating other people, and to not be tied down to one boyfriend, because they don’t believe it will last. Katherine, on the other hand, thinks that it is love, and that it will last forever. The reader knows that it is inevitable that it won’t – Katherine refers to “forever” too much for it to end happily. The moral tone of the text was unavoidable and I think that it would have been much more successful in its intentions if this had been moderated, so that the plot and characterisation shone brighter than the didacticism.

For a short novel, Forever also seemed to cover too much ground. We did not get any insight into the characters if it didn’t directly relate to one of the milestones that Blume was trying to cover. The characterisation was minimalistic, and I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. The ending of Forever was incredibly abrupt, as well. It felt as though Blume thought that she had covered each event in a couple of paragraphs, and that, therefore, this was all the ending needed too. The ending was a particular sore-point for me! Far more reading-space was given to the descriptions of the couple’s sexual experimentation than to developing the narrative in any way, and the novel felt sparse as a result. The dialogue was awkward, most scenes made me cringe… and I was absolutely aghast when I first read about Ralph.

The novel tries to maintain a depth through the character of Artie, but it is skimmed over so quickly that even here it fails in its intentions. The character of Artie could have really drawn the novel together – showing how the relationship of Katherine and Michael fares, allowing for a third dimension to the characters, adding a depth to the school environment for example. Instead, it is brushed over in the course of a paragraph, and only mentioned in passing thereafter.

Blume had the potential for a really great novel with Forever, dealing with the effects of first love, and the issues that a young girl must face. Sadly, she condensed the novel to such a point that there was nothing else left to cling to! This was probably not helped by the incredibly simplistic narrative style.

Forever was incredibly innovative at its time of publication, and I will praise Blume for her representation of a first relationship – and the ways in which she shows that it is not easy (or always particularly romantic). I also understand that Katherine believes that it is love and that this is the only thing she can see – and that we can see, as it is from her narrative perspective that the novel is told, and that this paints a very realistic picture of relationships – perhaps more so than in many contemporary novels today. I also understand that by creating a narrative with so little characterisation, it becomes a novel that any teenage girl would be able to relate to, and to put herself in Katherine’s position. However, for a modern reader, it felt lacking. I, for one, need more to a novel than just a series of events one after the other with no character building, no world building, and no expansion.

It it weren’t for the knowledge of the impact the text had, I think this may have taken the space as my first one star review. It has been (marginally) redeemed for this reason, but I certainly will not be reading it again…

That said, I definitely don’t think it is a novel that should be banned in schools today. Teenagers can easily lay their hands on a copy of Fifty Shades of Gray or any other similar novel – especially with the prevalence of eBooks now making it impossible to see what someone is reading from the cover alone. Forever promotes healthy relationships and taking responsibility for your actions. I have no doubt that this would be a much favoured stance for an adult, than to know that your inexperienced daughter/student is reading (and accepting as “normal”) the ideals of novels such as Fifty Shades!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caused quite a stir when I first read it - and it seems that it still is, 2 Jan 2008
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Forever (Paperback)
The fact that this book has been in print for so long is perhaps a testament to Judy Blume and her talents as a writer for younger people. Although I am now in my late twenties, I remember being at school and hearing about this book from a friend of mine, who said that I must read it (mainly for the sex)!
I suppose, considering who the audience is for this piece of work, the fact that titillation shall perhaps be the main reason for picking it up is to be expected - teenagers are always going to remain curious, and so they should. Yet, considering that all those years have passed, but teenagers of today are still choosing this book, shows that perhaps there is more than just sexy writing within this piece of literature for young adults.
For myself, the honesty that Blume exhibited within her writing was the reason I read the whole book, not just the juicy bits. At that time of life, when you are eager to learn about love and the sexual side of relationships, for someone to have the guts to give you an honest insight into what that might mean for a relationship, is a very empowering thing. But it is interesting that, although I tried reading other pieces by Blume, no other book by her managed to hold my attention!
While I am sure that young girls shall remain to turn to this book in order to read about sex, I hope that they also consider the wider message that the book tries to put across - that 'forever' at such a tender age is such a long time, and that people can change, their hearts can change, but that this is all part of love sometimes too.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft Porn??, 8 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Forever (Paperback)
Love, sex, pregnancy, alcohol, drugs. This book should be called 'The answers for every teenager'. I first got hold of a copy of 'Forever' when I was 13. The pages were worn and some falling out from the many teenagers hands through which it had past. The original owner was long gone! 'Forever' was my first experience of sex. Its a love story, but what makes this book so popular is the way Judy Blume peeled back the skin of sex and wrote it how it is. Surprises, experiences, are all put into the written word - so real!! I recommend any teenager picks this up - Your Mum and Dad wouldn't tell it this well!
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Forever
Forever by Judy Blume (Paperback - 4 Feb 2011)
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