Finishing up the survey of Judy Blume (for now) with a really steamy entry...
Forever is the story of Kath and Michael (and Ralph!) and their first love -- a very hot torrid physical relationship. The story recounts everything from falling in love, to having sex, to dealing with separation, and to the eventual breakup.
There actually isn't much more story than that, although Blume does fit in teen suicide, teen pregnancy, birth control, and even drinking and drug use. There's a lot going on in this book and it is pretty explicit. In fact, it's basically NC-17 (or XXX to use the jargon in which the book is written). As before, there are lots of moments that date this book (most notably, that this group of 18 year olds go to a bar and have drinks). The most dangerous dated reference (having sex without a condom) is actually addressed by Blume in a new forward to the book.
There are certainly lovely moments in the book, like recounting the awkward physics of having sex with a new partner or the cuteness of pet names (although I used "Richard" instead of "Ralph"), but again it is a rushed book. And like so many of her other books, Blume is on a crusade and it shows. Kath is so comfortable having sex and so uninhibited (as, in fact are the adults) that it is surreal. Even for adults, it does not go that smoothly. But in the end, the whole experience is just so clinical -- Blume is basically trying to show young readers that sex is awkward and wonderful -- that the story is hollow and empty. To have written a book about how beautiful young love and passion can be would have made a fantastic read. Instead, we have a clinical and political manifesto....and one that left me feeling a bit dirty.