Friday, February 09, 2007

Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

Published in 2007. 384 pages.

I love Carmen, Bridget, Tibby, and Lena! I can relate a little to each one of them (with Tibby being most like me in personality, then Carmen, then Bridget, and then Lena). I love their Sisterhood - and I celebrate the power that comes from women being together. I was very excited to read about "one last, glorious summer" for the traveling pants. And I did enjoy the book!

I did have a major disappointment, however, with the emphasis on the sexual relationships of the girls. When, in the first book, Bridget lost her virginity to Eric at soccer camp, I defended the book as being worthwhile reading for teens because Brashares dealt with Bee's subsequent feelings in a realistic manner. With the amount of sex going on in this book, however, I was sometimes uncomfortable - although I will admit that Brashares still doesn't paint all of it as romantic and "happily ever after." But it seems to me that she also is giving the message that by the time a girl is done with her freshman year in college, it's time for her to be having sex, with absolutely no suggestion that waiting until marriage is even an option. I particularly worry about younger readers of this series - eleven-year-olds like my daughter Sugar Plum, for instance - who certainly aren't ready for the kind of detail that Brashares provides.

On a positive note, though, I found the conclusion of the novel to be satisfying - though I will certainly miss these girls - and I was pleased that Brashares continued with the format of the previous books - switching perspective among the four girls throughout and inserting poignant or funny comments or quotations between chapters. Among my favorites of those are these:

  • Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before. -Steven Wright
  • It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. -Henry David Thoreau
  • In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. -Albert Camus
  • You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. -Aldous Huxley
  • Bouncing is for balls. -Tibby Rollins

If you've read any of the Traveling Pants books, I'd like to know which of the girls you identify with most.


1 comment:

  1. I just finished this book! I love the sisters, but you're right about the sex. I told my sister that her teenaged girls should definitely WAIT to read this one.

    I think I am about 50% Carmen, 25% Bridget, 20% Tibby and 5% Lena, but I'm not sure.

    My favorite quotes (besides the fabulous Camus and Huxley)... "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward." - Vernon Law (who I met, once)

    And, "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional." - Greta Randolph