“You Only Live Once. That’s what people said, as if life really mattered because it happened only one time. But what if it was the other way around? What if what you did mattered MORE because life happened again and again, consequences unfolding across centuries and contents? What if you had chances upon chances to love the people you loved, to fix what you screwed up, to get it right?”

I read The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin because of my book club. It is not something I would have picked up on my own. Or, maybe I would, but I probably would not have worked to finish it if I chose it myself.

The description on this book implies that Noah, Janie’s young son, is going to have a mental illness like borderline personality disorder or something similar, and that his place in the story would be one of possession. I was, in short, expecting some sort of horror or thriller novel. I was not expecting what I got.

Essentially, this book takes the idea of reincarnation and runs with it. The idea here is that young children can sometimes remember details of their past lives and the lines start to blur between the two. In Noah’s case, he doesn’t seem to tell his mother (not at first anyway) that these things are from another life. He just says them like they are truth and it really starts to cause serious issues in their lives.

I mean, maybe it makes a little more sense since Noah is a young child and maybe he just thinks the world works like this, but at the same time it just keep striking the wrong chord with me. I never really thought of reincarnation as a real possibility. With that said, the execution here seemed a bit off to me. I imagine that if past lives are real, we either remember everything (or pieces) forever, or we never truly realize we lived before. This was not the case in The Forgetting Time. There was a part of me that wanted something entirely different from this book. No, all of me wanted something entirely different.

There is a part of this story, with Jerome Anderson, that had so much potential. I feel as if he was under-utilized and had things been altered, the story could have been so much better, even if a large portion of it remained the same as it is right now. Of course, I think this story has sparked something I truly wanted to read that I do not believe exists. I was not even sure that I wanted to read about it, but now I know that I do.

I know this book was not for me. I probably would not recommend it to most people, but if you have a fascination for or even a passing interest in reincarnation, I might pick it up and give it a chance. The writing itself had some good moments, which is why I think it might appeal to you if you already have that interest in reincarnation.

If you have read it, I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave them in the comments below.

~~**~~

Title: The Forgetting Time

Author: Sharon Guskin

Publisher: Flatiron Books

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