The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin – 352 pages
Noah wants to go home. A seemingly easy request from most four year olds. But as Noah’s single-mother, Janie, knows, nothing with Noah is ever easy. One day the pre-school office calls and says Janie needs to come in to talk about Noah, and no, not later, now – and life as she knows it stops. For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has stopped. A deadly diagnosis has made him realize he is approaching the end of his life. His first thought – I’m not finished yet. Once a shining young star in academia, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a professor of psychology, he threw it all away because of an obsession. Anderson became the laughing stock of his peers, but he didn’t care – something had to be going on beyond what anyone could see or comprehend. He spent his life searching for that something else. And with Noah, he thinks he’s found it.
My Review: 4.5 stars
The Forgetting Time is a fascinating story about life and the possibilities of what lies beyond. I picked this book up based on some recommendations form my Tell Me What You’re Reading Tuesday feature on Facebook. A few were reading it and to be honest, I was really attracted to the title. I very rarely read the inside jacket of a book and prefer going in with little to no information.
With that being said, I devoured this book in one day and from other reviews I’ve read since, I think that’s a common practice with this book. It just sucks you right in. The idea that the protagonist’s son has been reincarnated is one facet of the book that’s seldom used in fiction, at least in my reading repertoire. I do recall Kristina McMorris’ The Pieces We Keep vaguely touched on it. I’m sure however, that there are oodles of non-fiction books that cover this subject. Many years ago my book club read Many Minds, Many Masters, a non-fiction book about reincarnation and past lives, which led to a mightily fueled discussion.
Beyond the possibilities of this young boy’s potential reincarnation, there’s a storyline of a missing boy and his family’s ability to cope with the unknown, as well as a scientist, who while mourning his wife and child, is also facing a rare form of dementia and jumping back into work to help the main protagonist. All the storylines worked well together and the author did a fine job of keeping us interested in all of them, especially when they all came together.
Taken as a whole, the writing was good and the story engaged me. Though more importantly, this is also a book that makes one think about the ‘what ifs’ in life. What does a child with a furious fear of something mean? Why do some people recall things that they never learned? Do birthmarks mean something besides a mark on the body? Those questions make for an interesting discussion and can bring out the cynic (or not at all) in the reader. I look forward to reading more from this debut author.
Quotes I liked:
Wasn’t that the lesson of adulthood, of motherhood? You had to be where you were. The one you’re living, the moment you’re in.”
-“’Fuck You.’ The most eloquently expressive and pithy sentence he had said in some time.”