I recently saw Forever by Judy Blume on a list of great books by women for women. I haven’t read young adult literature since…probably since I was a teenager. I was immediately struck by how bad the writing was. The book is a study in telling instead of showing. After deciding early on that it was not worth a close read, I just skipped ahead, read all of the sexy parts, and called it a day.
However, after a few days of reflection, I’ve come to realize that it probably is an important book. Sure, I found most of the writing off-putting, but it was probably pretty good/typical/appropriate/accessible for young adult fiction. Evidently, it’s one of the first books that’s about young people entering into their first sexual relationships. Blume portrays a very white, middle class, private school kind of normal. So, that was limiting, but still useful. It depicts young people being very straightforward with each other. All of the experiences are very consensual and thoughtful. If someone has a feeling or doesn’t want to do something, that’s okay. They talk about it. Blume is modeling a relationship, though perhaps overly simplified, is straightforward and consensual, and sadly, that’s really rare. So, after reading the thing, I’d agree that this is an important book for all women, especially young women, and the people who want to sleep with them.