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1-Page Summary of Love You Forever

Overall Summary

Children’s author Robert Munsch published the popular picture book Love You Forever in 1986 as a way of grieving his two stillborn children. Overcome by this loss, Munsch wrote the book as an allegory for parents’ unconditional love for their children. The story follows a boy who grows up and becomes a man, while his mother ages with him and eventually dies.

A child frequently gets into trouble when he is young. The boy flushes his mother’s watch down the toilet and makes a huge mess in the house, refuses to take a bath and accidentally curses in front of his grandmother when she visits. His mother says that this is driving her crazy and that maybe the best thing would be for her to put him in a zoo.

A boy grows up and has a rebellious teenage phase. His mother still loves him even though he’s not such an angel anymore. She crawls into his room every night, rocks his sleeping body to sleep, and sings him the rhyme that says she’ll always love him no matter what happens in life.

A boy grows up and moves away from his mother. Still, at night, she drives across town to see him. She climbs a ladder on the side of the building and crawls into his bedroom where he is sleeping. She picks him up in her arms and sings to him while he cries out for help that no one can hear. He tells his mother that he will always love her as long as he lives but asks if this has to happen every time they meet each other because it scares everyone else away. The mother says she won’t do it anymore after this visit, but then does it anyway when they meet again years later just before the mother dies in her son’s arms as she sings “I’ll love you forever.”

In the next scene, we see the man holding his own daughter and singing to her. The implication is that he will continue with this tradition and pass it on to his children.

Since its publication, the book has remained popular. However, some readers express reservations about how this allegory of love is presented. Particularly troubling are the scenes where a mother only shows affection to her son when he’s asleep, as well as forcing her way into his room when he is an adult—even though she had no right to do so in either case. The thought experiment that parents will now force their way into their daughter’s room also seems wrong and uncomfortable for many people.

Love You Forever Book Summary, by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw