A novel reflects on the meaning of forever in life

Forever is a word thrown around so much today it is beginning to lose its meaning. People ‘take forever;’ couples want to ‘be together forever.’ It is a relative term that is used to describe something that either lasts a long time, or that someone wishes to last a long time. Sarah Dessen in her novel “The Truth about Forever” shows the real meaning of the word forever and how it affects a teenage girl’s life.

Dessen writes in the novel,”That was the thing. You just never knew. Forever was so many different things. It was always changing, it was what everything was really about. It was 20 minutes, or 100 years, or just this instant, or any instant I wished would last and last. But there was only one truth about forever that really mattered, and that was this: it was happening.”The main character, Macy, is 16 and is coping with her father’s death the best way she knows how: denial. Afraid to confront her feelings and talk to her mother, she devotes her days to her boyfriend Jason. The novel starts with the opening sentence, “Jason was going to Brain Camp.” Her boyfriend is leaving her for the summer and Macy has no choice but to find a way to occupy her now vacant summer.

A surprise job with a catering company, Wish, leads Macy into a summer and new life that she never knew could exist. Breaking out of her shell, Macy learns to love the disorganization and the messy ways of Wish and she learns that she is just a little stronger than she likes to believe. A boy named Wes also works at Wish. A friendship grows between Wes and Macy as both of their relationships deteriorate throughout the summer.

Full of laughs, tears, and truth, “The Truth About Forever” will whisk the reader into a world of catered parties, games, friendship, love and everything else a teenager’s life is about.

Dessen invades the mind of a teenage girl and shows that forever changes and nothing ever stays the same. Life is a ride, and through Macy, readers get a small taste of what it can be like to live again after a terrible loss. Macy shows how to live, how to breathe, and how to find your footing when all you want to do is fall.

Dessen is the author of many young adult novels including “Someone Like You” and “That Summer,” which were made into the movie “How to Deal” starring Mandy Moore in 2003. All five of her previous novels have been awarded the ALA Best Book for Young Adults award, among many other awards her books have received. “The Truth About Forever” is an ALA Teen’s Top Pick.

Dessen graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Creative Writing, and she now teaches there. Dessen has a new novel scheduled for release in early 2006.

Dessen’s “The Truth About Forever” helps the reader to fully understand the meaning of forever and to take away a life lesson that she will never forget.