5* Review: The Forever and The Now – KJ

Within the first few pages of this book KJ makes no bones about the fact that The Forever and The Now is not a romance, and strictly speaking it isn’t – there’s no happily ever after for the protagonists – BUT, it is a love story in it’s truest form, and by god what a love story KJ has given us.

The Forever and The Now is a story of healing and hope, and yes forever love, which could induce feeling in even the blackest of hearts and darkest of minds, such is its emotive power .

We’re taken along the journey of Bron (42, teacher/artist) and Kate (48, accountant) as they face first lust, then tentative love, deep love, heartbreak followed by healing and tragedy, and ultimately a different kind of forever love. In a subtle yet beautiful way i realised with each chapter i read, that Bron and Kate’s journey is actually depicted in the chapter titles. Which when viewed on the contents page in their entirety are visually touching in a rather unusual way.

I will admit that in the first view chapters i struggled to truly get on board with Bron’s character and the first person point of view, but as the plot progressed it became clear that this sort of story absolutely needed a character like Bron and it had to be told from her perspective. By the end, Bron’s light hearted commentary and self-deprecating humour were the balm to the heart-wrenchingly beautiful tragedy unfolding before my very eyes.

And whilst there is darkness and sadness lurking in the wings of Bron and Kate’s journey, there are many moments of joy and reasons to smile (or grin) – like the depiction of Fruitloop the dog, spinning around on the washing line. And then there’s Bron’s classic put down of Neil (Kate’s ex-husband) when he confronts them both at Veris’s New Years Eve party – which by the way elicited one of my favourite lines in the book.

“… I truly hope you’ll fuck off preferably to the end of a very short pier and therefore into the ocean.”

KJ, The Forever and The Now

Alongside the main plot, KJ also gives her readers so many other topics to sink their teeth into – from coming out obstacles to pronoun use and gender identities. I take my hat off to authors that continue to tackle and bring into the light often difficult or complex issues and KJ is no exception. I particularly welcomed the discussion between Kate and Bron regarding ‘coming out’ throughout one’s life and the exploration of pronouns and gender through the character of JJ. Whilst these issues can often be heavy, KJ’s writing ensures they are addressed with the consideration and sensitivity that they deserve, in a manner that is in keeping with the flow of the story.

But ultimately at the core of The Forever and the Now is a profound reminder to cherish your own love story, your own person. To remember that the tiny moments matter, those seemingly inconsequential moments in ‘the now’ lead to the ever lasting love in ‘the forever’ and you can’t have one without the other. And even though love is all encompassing it doesn’t negate the need to hold yourself and your relationships to the light, to nurture them, and to not take anything for granted in the name of love; complacency is the harbinger of heartache.

There’s a part of this book – the paper cranes – which really pulled at my heart strings, right up to the last paragraph. They are a beautiful, meaningful presence throughout the whole story and whilst the last crane will always be tinged with sorrow, it also represents everything that came before it. It’s a touching symbolism of Kate and Bron’s everlasting love.

To me, The Forever and The Now is a work of art for which no review will ever do it justice. This is a book that is emotive, it’s a story that has been crafted to be deeply felt and sometimes there are feelings to which no words can suffice. The Forever and The Now touches every part of your being and tenderly whispers a reminder to cherish your forever love at every opportunity.

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