I think it was long ago established that I am a HUGE bookworm and have been for as long as I can remember. I have been a devoted reader since the grade school Book It days (I got a personal pizza every month, easily). Obviously, as a young pre-adolescent I loved Judy Blume. I even re-read Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret a few years ago, before giving it to my niece. One of the first books my graduate school bookclub read was Summer Sisters, an adult novel written by Ms. Blume.
When I stumbled across this book (I can’t remember how for the life of me), I ordered it right away. It was originally published in the 70s and was and continues to be quite controversial. Because she chose to write about such taboo topics as puberty and sex, she is number 2 on the American Library Association’s list of the top 10 most challenged authors. That was all I needed to hear to order this book, ranked at number 16 for the decade ending in 2009.
There are some seriously uptight people challenging books if this is on that list.
Michael and Katherine are in high school, in love, and awkward. Basically, they are your typical high school couple. The sex scenes are fairly detailed, although nothing compared to what I imagine Shades of Grey to be like. (I will forever giggle when I hear the name Ralph, the name Micheal gives his penis.) Still, these scenes are important to the flow of the story and the character development. They illustrate perfectly just how awkward this couple, who claim to be madly in love, really are around each other. I couldn’t help but think that they clearly weren’t ready for sex yet. I guess I have a little bit of mom in me after all.
Sex scenes notwithstanding, the main point of this story is that it is easy to confuse true love with first love. First love is a powerful force, made more so by puberty and it’s associated hormonal surges. Absence will make the heart grow fonder…or it won’t. It depends on whether we’re talking about true love or first love.