In recognition of ALA's Banned Books Week, I have been reading Judy Blume's Forever. Blume has been described as one of the most censored authors of our time. Forever, which had its debut in 1975, is an explicit account of teenage love. Over thirty years later, Blume's books for adolescents still consistently hit the top ten. According to a book list posted by Delete Censorship,
“Forever” by Judy Blume, a favorite for girls and young teens, has frequently been the target of censors. This story about the sexual awakening of a teenage girl has been challenged since its publication (1975) because it “does not promote abstinence and monogamous relationships.” It was challenged by Midvalley Junior-Senior Scranton, Pennsylvania high school library (1982), Orlando, Florida schools (1982) and Akron, Ohio school district libraries (1983) for using “four-letter words” and for talking about masturbation, birth control and disobedience to parents.I didn't read this book as a teen. Perhaps my school decided it was too controversial. But I tried to weigh my thoughts as a parent into my reading this week. The language is blunt. From swear words to popular euphemisms for the sex act, Blume pulls no punches. She is blunt in other ways that I appreciate as a parent. She explains more about VD and safe sex than is likely explained by the average parent.
Her realistic portrayal of two teens exploring the new world of adolescent love is not likely to date itself any time soon although the new edition includes a forward from Blume on the dangers of AIDS and the necessity for sexually active people to use condoms.
For sexually active teens, I think this book could help to sort out their feelings as well as give them information to stay safe. For teens who may wait for that first sexual encounter, Forever provides a "safe" way for them to explore this new sexual world without diving right in.
Read an article on banning by Judy Blume.
Read an excerpt of Forever here.