6 April 2016

The Forgetting Time


Noah is four and wants to go home.  The only trouble is, he's already there. 
Janie's son is her world, and it breaks her heart that he has nightmares.  That he's terrified of water.  That he sometimes pushes her away and screams that he wants his real mother.  That it's getting worse and worse and no one seems able to help.  In desperation, she turns to someone who might have an answer - but it may not be one she's ready to hear.  It may also mean losing the one thing she loves more than anything. Noah.  A novel that spans life, death and everything in between, The Forgetting Time tells an unforgettable story - about Noah, about love and, above all, about the memories that shape us.

Rating: ★★

The Forgetting Time is a very smart and compelling read.  It follows the story of Noah, who wants to go home.  It sounds like a simple request from a 4 year old, but Noah also has an irrational fear of water, is plagued by nightmares, and makes frequent requests of his mother, Janie, to go see his 'real mother.'  Under pressure from Noah's school, Janie seeks help and they meet Jerome Anderson, an academic studying children who appear to recall detail of previous lives.  Their quest to help Noah leads them to the door of a woman whose own son disappeared seven years ago.

I was intrigued straight away by the subject of past lives and memory, I think because it's something most people have wondered about at least in passing before.  I love when a book teaches me something new and I learned a lot while reading about the research done on past lives and reincarnation, thanks in part to the inclusion of real world examples and case studies from researchers the author met.  At the centre of the story is a moral dilemma which definitely pulled me in - what would you do, if your child thought he was someone else - and what would you do if there was a lot of evidence that it could be true?

The book is told from the point of view of numerous people at different points but most often, from the perspectives of Janie and Dr Anderson.  I enjoyed Janie's chapters the most as I found her story most compelling, as a mother just trying to do her best for her child.  Dr Anderson also has his own back story which I found interesting too, but I wasn't quite sure what it added to the story.  I enjoyed the writing but found the plot is quite predictable. I found it quite easy to work out the cause of Noah's trauma from dialogue early on, and there aren't really any twists or unexpected plot developments.  This isn't necessarily a weakness as I felt the story was more an exploration of the dilemma facing both parents and the way they would choose to deal with the things they discover, but something to be aware of if you're expecting more of a thriller.

Overall, an interesting and thought provoking read, with great characters, but not one that blew me away.
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