Sharon Guskin: The Forgetting Time – review

theforgettingtimeAuthor: Sharon Guskin
Publish Date: 11 February 2016
Genre: Mystery, psychology
Audience: Young adult, adult fiction

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My friend Lois had lent me this book a couple of months ago along with a few others, and I’d left this one until last because it does not fit with the usual type of books I read. Nevertheless, the blurb had left me intrigued and so I was determined to read it regardless – and I am so glad that I did!

‘The Forgetting Time’ follows the story of a single mum Janie, whose 4 year old son Noah constantly wakes up from nightmares, begging to go home and see his ‘real mum’. After extensive research and trips to the psychiatrist, Janie meets a doctor with a theory of reincarnation, in that in rare instances, some children can remember their past lives. Instantly, the plot of ‘The Forgetting Time’ had me hooked. The suspense and mystery is weaved immaculately throughout the novel, and there are constantly new pieces of the puzzle being added as the plot progresses. Thankfully, there is an extremely satisfying end to every single aspect, including many things which I was not anticipating; I was constantly creating my own theories, meaning the reading experience was fully immersive and enjoyable.

I was also particularly intrigued by the fact that the story was inspired by actual cases of children seemingly knowing intricate details about somebody else’s life, claiming to actually BE that person. Guskin inserts extracts from a book called ‘Life before Life’ by Jim B. Tucker which documents real life examples of supposed reincarnation. Whilst this is a fictional story, the snippets of real stories puts into question a very controversial topic which really makes you think.

A feature which is particularly notable about ‘The Forgetting Time’ is how beautiful yet simplistic Sharon Guskin’s writing is. Alongside the gripping plot, the accessible writing style means that you can easily whizz through this 400 page book – you seriously won’t want to put it down! Equal to this is stunning descriptions of emotion which drive the plot forward, making you as a reader feel just as much as the characters. I also loved how despite the novel being in 3rd person, each chapter focuses on a different character, so you still get a serious insight into their thoughts and feelings. Not only this, but the writing style changes ever so subtly to reflect that character, making it easy to recognise which character the plot is focusing on.

Despite ‘The Forgetting Time’ being extremely addictive, there are a couple of certain things which I wasn’t so keen on. There are a few instances where Guskin’s writing tends to get a little rambly, describing emotions and inner feelings in a little too much detail. Whilst the writing itself was still easy to read, it did get slightly repetitive at times and I found myself wanting to skim read. In addition, whilst the emotions created were immense, I did not find myself extremely attached to any of the characters, which made it hard to feel significant, direct sympathy for anybody in the novel. The intriguing plot was still enough to keep me hooked and longing for a satisfying conclusion – which there was – but I think I could have benefited even further by having a stronger connection to the characters.

There is not much else I can say about ‘The Forgetting Time’, as the plot needs to be left rather untouched in order for you to have the best experience you can when reading this novel. Overall, it is a thoroughly addictive and enjoyable read with beautiful writing and a fascinating plot which will leave you guessing until the last page. If you enjoy mysteries, or are interested in psychology and/or reincarnation, this stunning debut from Sharon Guskin will definitely be up your street.

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