Forever banned, forever loved
Editor’s note: It’s Banned Book Week, one of our favorite holiday seasons. The other is July 4th. They both remind us that a little civil disobedience is good for the soul. We’ll feature a couple banned books each day, and probably poke fun at those who would ban them.
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”
– Mark Twain
Apparently, you’re nobody until somebody bans you.
But are they still banning Judy Blume books? Really?
Judy Blume takes her place alongside James Joyce, Samuel Langhorn Clemens, J.K. Rohlwing and Vladimir I. Ulyanov aka Lenin on the illustrious list of those who’ve been banned.
Blume, radical that she is, peered deep into the soul of the Body Politic and gave us “Fudgemania,” “Super Fudge” and “Freckle Juice.”
It turns out that she’s one of the most challenged and banned American authors who ever put pen to paper, bless her civilly- disobedient little soul. She’s been banned more than Lenin, author of Communism and Other Cool Stuff, but then Lenin only wrote the one thing that we know about.
Like a laser, Judy Blume aimed her books at adolescent girls, likely for two reasons: They’ll buy them, which is always a good thing for a book author. And if someone looks you straight in the eye and can name the last five people to be voted off the island, they’re a waste of air and ought not be written at.
Blume’s detractors say she promotes teenage insubordination, masturbation and encourages adolescent sexual behavior – as if young men and women would become opinionated and try to attract one another’s attention without Judy Blume’s encouragement.
Blume’s “Forever” was published in 1975, when your parents were in high school and college. It’s pretty racey stuff for the early disco era, and librarians around the country were yanking it from bookshelves.
Between 1982 and 1986, “Forever” was removed from school and public libraries in more than a dozen states. “Blubber,” one of Blume’s most well-known novels, was one of the American Library Association’s most challenged books. It contains language that could curl the hair of a balding longshoreman.
Three of Blue’s novels made the American Library’s Top 50 banned/challenged list.
That’s way better than Elvis or the Beatles having three or four hit songs at the same time. Blume is an artist; Elvis and the Beatles are more commercial than water.
Forever’s protagonist Katherine is pure as the driven snow during summer vacation before her senior year of high school. She gets a boyfriend, she gets the pill and they get busy. She was thinking it would cement their relationship forever, him thinking whatever teenage boys think.
They go back to school, she takes a shine to another shiny guy and Mr. Right becomes Mr. Right Now.
We learn in “Forever,” that almost nothing is forever. It could be considered a cautionary tale for those couples who want to get matching tattoos: Tattoos are forever; true love rarely is.