Have you ever finished a book and wanted to give the characters (and the author!) a standing ovation? Mallory Dodge from The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout is that character for me. Instead of letting her traumatic past dictate her future, she sets goals to overcome her unique difficulties and boy does she grow!
Mallory comes from an abusive past in foster care that renders her unable to speak much and while she feels safe in the silence, she can’t live like that forever. In order to move on, Mallory has to let go of the fears that threaten to hold her back. She learns that sometimes, it’s not about completely letting go of something—sometimes it’s more about accepting your past for what it is and moving forward, because who can ever really let go of their past? It will always be there. So throughout the story you get to see Mallory setting small goals for herself and ultimately accomplishing them, inching away from her past and towards her future.
There is more than one character who learns about self-acceptance during The Problem with Forever. Rider Stark—a talented, heart stopping, and protective blast from the past reenters Mallory’s life and he is struggling just as she is with moving on from his past. Their connection runs deep. Deeper than friendship, deeper than the romantic feelings even. Surviving together within the same abusive household and sharing this traumatic past makes Mallory and Rider understand one another more than anyone else can. Even with a shared history, Rider has to follow his own path to self-acceptance, his future potential, and everything he can achieve if he can learn to believe in himself.
The Problem with Forever is a raw and touching lesson in self-acceptance. To move on to a better future, it’s not always necessary to “let go” of the negative experiences that have shaped you. As Mallory and Rider learn, they can’t erase the physical and mental abuse they suffered, but they CAN have a better future by accepting themselves, believing in their dreams and abilities, and taking the steps they need to make them come true.
After all, as a wise monkey once said, “The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it…or learn from it.”
So… why not follow Mallory and Rider and learn from it?