Barbie Forever: A Robin Gerber Book Review

When Robin Gerber first wrote about Barbie and her creator, Ruth Handler, she got to dive into world that went from girls pretending to be mothers to girls pretending to be teachers, astronauts, doctors, artists and presidents. In her latest release, she got to dive back into the world of Barbie and find the answer to a 60-year-old question: How has Barbie lasted this long, and how long could she go on?

Barbie Forever: Her Inspiration, History, and Legacy is an important addition to Gerber’s previous work because it goes beyond the genius behind the brand. This time around, she explores Mattel headquarters; she meets with designers, artists, marketers and managers of the company that first introduced Barbie in 1959. She interviews those who know Barbie the most – her fans. She explores Barbie’s journey into pushing boundaries and inspiring millions of women into being whoever they wanted to be.

“…I always believed I could be anything, perhaps [Barbie] had something to do with that,” Gerber said in a press release.

Barbie has faced controversy, but has learned and grown to become a doll for everyone and anyone; making sure that no one was excluded from having one that represented their race, religion, gender, shape or size. She’s stretched far beyond the limits of a doll, turning her backstory into films, television specials, video games and more.

The book dives into the magic of Barbie and how much longer this fascination could last. Collectors with thousands of dolls share their story of holding Barbie exhibitions, creating YouTube channels, sculpting handmade clothes out of household items and decorating their homes to model Barbie’s Dream House. By the sounds of things, Barbie isn’t going anywhere.  

The exterior of the book models a coffee table read, with interior pages of bright photos, fascinating behind-the-scenes information and lots and lots of pink. It’s an easy read that would satisfy anyone mildly interested to fully nostalgic about their childhood. The wide hardcover even folds out into a poster-sized timeline of role models, including cycling champion Kristina Vogel, scientist Eleni Antoniadou and mountaineer Karla Wheelock.

Barbie has become an international brand with more influence than ever thought possible, and everything that she has accomplished and continues to accomplish sparks countless conversations. She is more than just a doll; she’s an icon.