“We saw each other one more time before we left for school.” (Forever by Judy Blume)
I have been fortunate enough to have to freedom to choose what I read since the BookLion’s inception almost 2 years ago. For reasons that I’ve forgotten in the aftermath of Judy Blume’s monochromatic sentences and to-the-point moral plotlines, I’ve decided to tie my leisure-reading fate to a YA course at Simmons this semester. While I am still excited to be reading ‘real’ books for class, instead of research articles, Forever made me wish I had spent my morning pouring over the methods section of the driest of papers instead of cringing through its pages.
While I understand that Judy Blume was instrumental in a lot of teenage lives, I personally never had that problem. But it would be too easy to go on making fun of her one-idea-per-sentence book; that is what everyone does. If I am being truthful with myself, I have to admit that the ending is really what brought on my current bought of disgust. It turned the novel instantly from a romance into a sort of boring ultra-realism novel. Instead of being a book about idyllic love, it turns out that Forever is about how societal expectations (and other external forces) can shape a person’s life and emotions. In that way, it brings an un-charming reality into the reader’s realm of possibility; something that even I have to admit is in line with real-world experience. Yet, even bestowing this book with a potential use and audience (it could be used as a sexual education book, for example), I still feel secure in labeling Blume as the Berenstain Bear of YA literature – no matter what Judy Blume might have to reveal, she still does it with a tool that is too cumbersome and heavy for the job.