Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Review: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
No of Pages: 418
Release Date: 27 May 2010

“You’ve always been my best friend, my soul mate, and now I’ve fallen in love with you too. Why is that such a crime?”

She is pretty and talented – sweet sixteen and never been kissed.

He is seventeen, gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future.

And now they have fallen in love. But...

They are brother and sister.

My Thoughts:

That was possibly the most horrifyingly moving book I have ever read.

The Whitely kids don’t have it easy. Their dad has left. Their mum is an alcoholic with the temperament of a sixteen year old and barely makes it home at night. The responsibility has long since fallen to Lochan and Maya the two eldest children. At just seventeen and sixteen respectively they have managed to keep together their family of five, successfully taking care of their three younger siblings.

Things start turning more pear-shaped than usual. Kit, the thirteen year old middle child is lashing out, staying out until all hours of the night, smoking, drinking and hanging around with a gang. Tiffin and Willa, the two youngest of the clan need constant supervision and attentiveness.

Lochan is trying to study for his final year of school and Maya is only a year off that herself. In troubled times they have always turned to each other, always supported each other and been one another’s rock. They have always been the closest, the best of friends, the surrogate parents to the little ones, the team.

Lochie has always had trouble talking to anyone outside of his family, painfully shy and afraid of speaking in public after nearly losing Maya to another boy at school he realises why he has never wanted anyone else. He loves her, more than a brother should.

Maya has felt the same way and when given the opportunity to finally express herself, she willingly takes the chance.

Forbidden was in a way painful to read. There was no excitement at the unknown, no daring anticipation at the fact that they could be caught at any second. You start out thinking ok, well this will be a standard story about traumatised kids finding comfort in each other, but it is so much more.

You weren’t made to like the idea of incest, even Lochie and Maya hated it at first, you couldn’t sympathise with them, but you could understand what was happening. After their first kiss I had to put the book down and walk away, to be honest, I was disgusted.

You didn’t want them to succeed in finding a way to make their love work, but you almost didn’t want it to end. You didn’t want to continue reading because about halfway through it is easy to see the outcome but you couldn’t put it down.

Suzuma in a way forces you through their pain, by completely consuming you with their lives even though you don’t want to keep going, just like them, somehow you find a way to continue. By the time Forbidden was finished, I was a mess because it forced me to think of things that I didn’t want to think of. You want to write off Lochie as a nutcase, consumed by his own madness but that’s not fair to him, because he fought for so long.

I almost can’t bear to give Forbidden top marks, but it has to have them. I hated Suzuma for what she did to me, what she made me feel. I have never felt so depressed after reading a book, but that is what I want in a book, to be consumed, to be lost, to be pounded, to feel. I am honestly terrified of reading anymore of her work purely because of what Forbidden did to me. So, as her characters had to do; it will just be one step at a time.


Nomes said...

I want to read this but i dont... if you get what I mean.

Recently watched an Aussie film with incest in it and it was really powerful and haunting in the end, although scared me a little :)

Natasha said...

Great review! Sounds like a good book. I'll have to check it out!

Alyssa Kirk said...

I don't think I'm up to reading this book but I enjoy all the reviews - everyone seems to love a horrifying sort of way!

Teens Read & Write

lanna-lovely said...

I concur with how painful it was to read... but I was actually pretty open minded about the idea of them being brother and sister but loving each other as more than that.

I was never once disgusted by how they felt for each other or the fact they acted on those feelings and I was rooting for them to get a happy ending even if I knew it wasn't going to happen.

But the book made me figure out my opinion of consensual incest with two people over the age of consent... which was another thing I liked about the book. I wrote a blog post about that here:

Sarah said...

Fab review hun, this book absolutely broke my heart! I cried buckets but it was probably my favorite book of the year so far - I was just so emotionally envolved in the story. I desperately wanted them to have a happy ending even though the thought of incest disgusts me. In their case I could completely understand how they had come to feel that way about each other & think that a lot of people could easily have reacted in the same way if they were in that situation. I've added your link to my review :o)


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