This is my first year participating in Book Journey's Banned Book Week and I'm very exited about it. I am the parent of three boys and I believe in them reading age appropriate books, but other than that I'm very open (and realistic!) on what they read.
For this stop of Banned Books Week I'm review Forever by Judy Blume and there is also a giveaway.
Title: Forever by Judy Blume
Published: 1975 by Pan Childrens
Grade rate: C
Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year's Eve party. They're attracted to each other; they grow to love each other. And once they've decided their love is forever, they make love.
It's the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine's parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart..."Forever" is written for an older age group than Judy Blume's other novels for children. It caused a storm of controversy when it was first published because of its explicit sexual content.It was a book ahead of its time - and remains, after thirty years in print, a teenage best-seller. America's No. 1 children's author has written some of the best books of our time about real-life issues - family stress and pressures, what happens when your parents divorce, the problems of growing up and sexual awakening, bereavement - with insight, sensitivity and honesty.The response of readers all around the world continues to make her one of the best-loved writers ever published.
Forever was first published in 1975 and I can understand why it achieved its status as a ‘banned book’. Let me start by saying that this book is not for younger readers as it is very sexually explicit.
I was curious to read Forever because of it is still in many ‘banned’ lists. It’s hard to imagine how a book written so many years ago can still be awarded that label. Literature has changed a lot in all that time and many things are more explicit now and not a taboo.
Katherine has been raised in an open environment in which no topic is forbidden. Her parents and grandparents are probably the exception. She is a senior in high school and when she meets Michael, they just click. The book is about their emotional and physical relationship; about their ups and downs, and their families’ views on what seems to become very serious, very fast. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been married for 20 years to my high school sweetheart, so I will be the last person to say that you can’t find true love when you are that young. BUT, I did go to college; I kept in touch with my friends, traveled, and did other things other than date.
The plot of the book is simple. Forever is not only about first love, but about first sexual encounters and experimentation. It is also about family dynamics, social pressure and even about how drugs are used recreationally. I really admire that Ms. Blume was brave enough to portrait these topics in a way that it becomes very useful to young readers. Safe sex and preventing pregnancy are things that everyone that is sexually active needs to be aware of. As expected, the writing is a bit outdated. It was fun to see that Michael and Katherine write letters to each other (as opposed to email or text), and that phones had a cord. It was surprising to me how open Katherine’s family was with her about sexuality and how little boundaries they had for Katherine. I mean, I didn’t have permissive parents at all (then again, I’m from a very conservative Hispanic family :).
Overall, Forever is a well written book with a plot that is not that novel these days, but that was relevant to the time that it was written on.
Judy Blume's novel Forever... has been subjected to greater censorship than any other book she has written. Forever... was banned from many schools due to its detailed depictions of sexual intercourse and because the protagonist, Katherine, uses the birth control pill. Criticism of the novel often comes from religious groups and pro-abstinence groups who consider the use of 'the pill' unsuitable. Forever... has been called "a manufactured sex manual thinly disguised as a novel" that "demoralizes marital sex" and "titillates and stimulates children to the point they could be prematurely awakened sexually."
Now for the giveaway! It is International provided that: 1) TBD delivers to you, 2) You can find the book selected in TBD, and 3) that the book is not over $15.
The prize: There are two links below from Goodreads with banned books and one with ALA's banned books. You can select any of them. **Please be aware that these lists do not contain only YA appropriate books** Here is a taste of what's for grabs:
Banned & Challenged YA Novels
Best Banned &/Or Censored Books
Banned / Challenged Books 200-2009
a Rafflecopter giveaway