The Forgetting Time, Sharon Guskin
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
The description of this intrigued me. I can recall as a young child being a fervent believer in some form of reincarnation, though of course I didn’t know the term. As I grew older I became less certain, but there’s always that thread in my mind that there must be more to life than just this time we have, and I’m not really a subscriber to the heaven and hell theory, so I have a kind of amorphous belief that we become something “ other” after death, whether that’s here or in some kind of parallel universe…
Anyway poor Janie, adores her son Noah but he’s getting more and more difficult to deal with. He’s only four but sometimes he says things far above that age, his nightmares are terrifying and it must be really upsetting for them both when he pushes her away and screams for his real mum, though its clear he adores her too and sees her as his mum – he calls her Mommy-mom. The water fear too – he won’t wash, has a real terror of water and wipes only go so far so that’s causing issues. Janie’s terrified someone, his nursery or someone they just bump into will notice his sour smell and report her for neglect. She hasn’t anyone else, no other family, its just her and Noah, and he’s her life.
It all comes to a head, she’s exhausted, her business is going down as Noah’s issues get worse, she’s at the end of the experts she’s seen, the money is running out and Noah, poor, poor Noah is more and more distressed by his desperation for his real mum and his terrible nightmares. The only suggestions are medication, and who wants to do that to a four year old? Then she meets Dr Anderson. He’s spent his life on studies of children like Noah, but he’s now ill and isn’t sure he has the energy to follow up yet another case that may turn out to be nothing. Janie’s desperation though coincided with a reason for him to look further, and thus the journey starts.
Its a curious read in some ways, a fiction that at times feels like a non-fiction story, very different to what I usually pick up and yet it drew me in so quickly. I was lost in there in poor Janie’s despair, Noah’s terror and Dr Andersons sorrow and health issues. They’re a mixed trio, but through them we get a story that’s fascinating, told as it happens, and interspersed with snippets of cases and studies of real lives from non-fiction books. I found it really interesting to read, a ficticious story that felt very real. It made me remember the feelings I used to have about life after death – or what could happen anyway. As the story moves on its incredibly emotional at times, and had me sniffling at how tragic some parts were, how a spilt seconds action can have such wide ranging actions resulting from it, how so many people get affected by it.
Its strange that in regression studies people always seem to recall being someone famous, and that makes so many of us sceptical but then maybe its not like that, just that those are the ones that get the publicity. Certainly there’s enough there for an element of reality to shine through. We’re all individuals and for me maybe that goes through to the next life, some come back, some move on. I don’t know, but it seems to me that in the same way medications for the same illnesses need to be tailored to individuals maybe that’s true of everything about us, that there isn’t a one size fits all afterlife but one that differs according to each person and their needs. Gave me lots to think about during and after reading this book anyway, and I’m very glad I picked it up – its a totally absorbing read that’s very emotional at times and feels so realistic it gave me chills at others.
Stars: Five, a story that may me think more about what comes after.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers