Monday 2 June 2014

Re-reading Forever by Judy Blume...

So my rereading for May month didn't go terrible well but I did sit down and reread one of my favourite books of all time from cover to cover, all in one go. This begged me to ask the question, is rereading something you loved such a good idea? I have to admit I didn't love this quite as much the second time around, but then my reading needs to be put into context...

This first time I read forever, it was the summer between primary school and secondary school. I was working my way through everything Judy Blume had ever written, having fallen in love with one of her audiobooks that I'd got from the library. I loved reading books about American teenagers seemingly living a better life than me over the pond and so I was loving the idea of reading about kids like me growing up. Now I have to admit when I got to this one, I didn't actually read it twice, so shocked was I at the ideas of having this much openness in a novel.

This book was my first experience of sex in a novel, not just the mention of it, but the character actually doing it. This was my first intiroduction to teenage love opened out and explored fully. This was the first time I had ever come a cross the idea of someone naming their genitals! I remember the revelation I felt at the time and how much I enjoyed an author being so honest with me as a reader. 

This books also allowed me to access a range of other novels, mostly written by Judy Blume that summer, but made me fall in love with reading again, having been forced to read some truly terrible books as reading books during my last year at primary school (these terrible books are still around now!) and so that is why it was such a special book for me. 

Rereading it wasn't quite the same experience. I am now 18 years older than I was then. I've experience falling in an out of love and I've seen how the kids live in Ameritech, it definitely has it's pros and cons. I've since read many many adult novels which deal with love and sex in a whole different way. I don't think reading the book again has spoiled it for me because the context I originally read it it was perfect at the time for being filled with the wonder that I was filled with, but now it all seems a bit silly, the fuss that I made over it. 

I actually don't like Kathryn as much as a character, or Michael for that matter, but I can see how important they were and how important it was that their story was told! I still hold this book incredibly close to my heart, but I'm not sure that rereading it was the best idea when it was such a favourite book of mine from childhood. 

What do you think? Is rereading an old fabourite always a good thing? Or do you think some of the magic needs to be preserved?


  1. I've experienced it both ways. Often when I re-read - especially something I enjoyed when I was much younger - my perspective has changed so much that I can't understand what I thought was so great about the book in the first place. But other books are just as charming as my memory tells me they were, and some are even better! When I was in my mid-twenties I actually went back and re-read a lot of the YA books I had liked when I was a pre-teen (including Forever, which was as much of a revelation for me as it was for you!). It was pretty entertaining - some of them just seemed incredibly juvenile, while others were still totally relevant to my experience of life since then. The other big difference - boy, what quick reads those books are now! ;)

    1. I knew it was going to be difficult, this has out me off rereading books from so long ago but I reread The Fault in Our Stars too and that was fine! Better than the first time actually!