Love You Forever
|October 1, 1986|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
Love You Forever is a Canadian picture book written by Robert Munsch and published in 1986. It tells the story of the evolving relationship between a boy and his mother.
The story details the cycle of life by chronicling the experiences of a young son and his mother throughout the course of the boy's life, and describing the exasperating behaviour exhibited by him throughout his youth. In spite of her occasional aggravation caused by her son's behaviour, the mother nonetheless visits his bedroom nightly to cradle him in her arms, and sing a brief lullaby promising to always love him. After her son enters adulthood and leaves home, his elderly mother occasionally sneaks into his bedroom at night to croon her customary lullaby. However she gradually grows old and frail, and her grown son visits his feeble, sickly mother for the final time. When he first arrives, his mother tries to sing her lullaby to him, but she is too weak to finish. He then cradles her in his arms and sings an altered rendition of her lullaby in reciprocation of the unconditional love that she had shown him throughout his life, vowing to always love her in return. After returning home in a scene implying the death of his mother, he cradles his newborn daughter and sings his mother's signature lullaby for her, implying that the cycle will continue.
It was listed fourth on the 2001 Publishers Weekly All-Time Bestselling Children's Books list for paperbacks at 6,970,000 copies (not including the 1,049,000 hardcover copies). In 2001, Maria Shriver wrote in O, The Oprah Magazine: "I have yet to read this book through without crying. It says so much about the circle of life, youth, parenting, and our responsibility for our parents as we grow older. The message is so simple yet so profound. Love You Forever is a great gift for anyone with a child, or even for your own parents." Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association listed the book as one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."
Some readers dislike the portion of the story where the mother sneaks into her grown son's home. One Publishers Weekly reviewer states that Love You Forever is a divisive children's book. "Either it moves you to tears and you love it, or it makes your skin crawl and you detest it..."  A commentator wrote "it's either a touching account of a mother's unending love or the ultimate helicopter parenting gone bad." 
The book is prominently featured in the Friends episode "The One with the Cake". In the episode, Joey performs a dramatic reading of the book at Emma's first birthday, moving everyone to tears. Inspired by this, Joey later decides to recite the book as a dramatic monologue at an audition.
Playwright Topher Payne wrote an alternative ending to the story, in which the mother is forced to recognize the son's need for personal space, and they instead agree to share their time doing things together.
- BabyCenter. "Truth Behind Love You Forever". Mom. Retrieved 25 September 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "All-Time Bestselling Children's Books". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 25, 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Shriver, Maria (December 2001). "Love You Forever - Review". O: The Oprah Magazine. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2008-09-04. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Morris, Alison, Love You Forever, Hate You Forever, Publishers Weekly, May 6, 2008
- Prahl, Amanda (Dec 29, 2019). "The Emotional True Story Behind "Love You Forever" Adds a New Layer to the Sweet Book". POPSUGAR Family. Retrieved Feb 8, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Kirch, Claire (20 August 2020). "Playwright's Revisions of Classic Picture Books Go Viral". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 16 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)