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The Bibliophile: Forever by Judy Blume
About the Book:
The book initially caused a furore when it was first published in mid-seventies regarding the sexual content. Subsequently it was banned from many libraries.
‘Forever’, more than a typical Y.A novel, felt more like a carefully written introduction to starting a first time sexual relationship. It mentions all sorts of responsibilities young girls should accept as part of being sexually active including the risk of STDs and unplanned pregnancy. And obviously, we can never ignore the drama, romance, desire, heartache and the frivolity of ‘forever’.
The protagonist, Katherine Danziger, a senior in high school meets Michael Wagner at a New Year’s Party. The attraction is mutual and pretty soon they are holding hands.
Before I go further into the plot, I would like to talk about the prime characters. The best thing about both Katherine and Michael is that they feel real and relatable. They are not the conventional characters that we usually find in books where the girl is shy and intelligent and the boy is a football player and incredibly good looking. In fact, it is Katherine who is the ‘jock’ in the relationship being an excellent tennis player. And Michael, he is as ordinary as it gets.
Soon after, they make love for the first time and promise that their love is forever. Little did they know.
As summer approaches, Katherine’s parents force her to attend a summer camp as a counsellor and teach tennis to the younger kids. A reluctant Katherine leaves not before telling herself that it is simply seven ‘short’ weeks away from her boyfriend. They regularly write to each other.
However, things have to get all screwed-up. She meets Theo, another counsellor who seems interested in her. She rebuffs him but after a few days together, she does admit that that he is ‘amusing’.
In the meantime, her grandfather dies.
When Michael visits Katherine at her camp, he feels definite that there is something wrong with her. As they lie to together to make love, he finally guesses that that there is another guy. While Katherine hadn’t been involved with Theo, it felt that Theo’s presence had been plaguing her mind. He screams, and they get into a fight, which only ends with Michael walking away.
The last time they see each other before heading off to separate colleges was in a supermarket. Both have seemed to come to the conclusion that perhaps, ‘forever’ is really not as simple as they thought it was.
While personally I didn’t really like the book, I would still recommend it to young teens to get an idea how real-life relationships work. This is a book every teen girl must read.
And if you are above 17, I would ask you to give it a miss because honestly there is nothing so ‘special about it that would keep to awake at night.’