29 February 2016

Review: The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

The Forgetting Time by Sharon GuskinSharon Guskin's The Forgetting Time explores reincarnation and what happens when a child remembers his previous life and how he died.

The plot: The novel centers on Janie, a single mother, and her four-year-old son, Noah, who has an unusually strong aversion to taking baths. He also suffers from nightmares, and most heartbreaking is when he wakes up crying, wanting to know when he can go home to his other mother. When he starts to make up stories at preschool, some involving guns, the teachers threaten to call family services, and Janie realizes she needs help.

Ex-psychology professor Jerry Anderson, a widower who's been given a devastating diagnosis of a degenerative cognitive disease, researches reincarnation. His specialty is cases in which a child retains memories of his or her last life. Noah will likely be his last chance to prove his theories, while helping the boy settle into the life ahead of him.

What I liked: Guskin infuses the plot with a hint of mystery and even suspense. Is Anderson there to help Janie and Noah or are his motivations purely selfish? Does Noah actually remember his last life, his mother, his brother, and even his favorite baseball team or does he have psychological problems? Is Janie the loving mother she seems to be? These questions kept me invested in the story. I felt bad for Noah and Janie, both of whom clearly needed help, and I was curious about Anderson's techniques.

What I didn't like: Interspersed throughout the novel are case stories of other people and their possible memories of a previous live. Although these excerpts come from a real book (by Jim B. Tucker), I admit I started to skim them so I could get back to the main story. In addition, the book ends with an epilogue, which, of course, gives us glimpse into the future. I'm not sure it added all that much to the story, and I would have been happy to have things end where there did in the last chapter.

Recommendation: Sharon Guskin's The Forgetting Time is one of those books that draws you in completely. I loved the premise and cared enough about Noah to read the book quickly so I could find out what happens. I like novels that make me think about broader questions and that explore alternative ways to explain the world around me. The Forgetting Time does both. Bonus: This is an Amy Einhorn book, which is pretty much a recommendation all in itself.

Published by Flatiron Books, 2016
ISBN-13: 9781250076427
Source: Review--audio (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Kailana 2/29/16, 9:21 AM  

Oh, this sounds good. On the wish list it goes!

Tea Norman 2/29/16, 10:23 AM  

I wish children didn't have to suffer with problems. I would like to see how this little boys life ends.

Sally Whitney 2/29/16, 12:16 PM  

I think the possibility of reincarnation is very interesting. There have been so many people, most of the whom are children, who remember vivid details about another life. I definitely want to see how this author deals with the subject.

Vicki 2/29/16, 12:40 PM  

This sounds really interesting, I'd like to see how things turned out for Noah. And your sentence "Is Janie the loving mother she seems to be?" really sparked my interest.

Daryl 3/1/16, 9:09 AM  

i learned about reincarnation as a kid ... i think it was part of what hooked me on scifi .. i am on the fence about this one .. thanks!

Trish 3/1/16, 11:41 AM  

My MIL tells a story about her youngest son when he was just a child. Apparently they were driving in the car and he pointed to a cemetery and said, "that's the cemetery where I'm buried." She says he was too young to understand just what he was saying. Eeeeeks!!!

I've seen you mentioning this one here and there and you've definitely piqued my interest!!

Eustacia Tan 3/1/16, 9:56 PM  

Ooooh, this sounds interesting. I like the premise, and I think I'd even find the case studies interesting - although I may skip them first, and then go back to them after.

Deepika Ramesh 3/5/16, 5:21 AM  

This is intriguing. Children remembering their previous lives is a scary stuff, and I want to how this book ended. I am surely going to read this. Thank you for this post. :)

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