*Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma


**WARNING ENTIRE REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS**

There is no way I can write a review for Forbidden without just laying it all out there. Some books are just like that. You can’t not talk it all out after reading. So sorry, if you don’t want to know what happens please turn to another review.

Even now after giving myself time to think over the events in this book I am still very emotional. After reading other reviews I was thinking this was going to be some weird romance. IT IS NOT A ROMANCE. Not in any sense. It is a story of abuse by an alcoholic mother and a dead beat dad. Neglect plain and simple. The oldest son, Lochie, is incredibly smart. His teachers are so impressed with his work and dedication. Lochie is also silent, he doesn’t speak in class averts his eyes when spoken to.  Panic attacks assail him. Although it is never directly stated I am pretty sure he suffers from extreme anxiety disorder.

Lochie is in charge of his four siblings Maya 16, Kit 13, Tiffin 9 and Willa 5. Mom is a drunk who when she is home really doesn’t care. She is trying to recapture her youth after a marriage she never really wanted ends. Her kids aren’t her priority and never really had been. She has found a new lover and just wants to forget her old life and start new. I hate this woman. HATE. Her selfishness leaves these children lost and confused. Why would Lochie not have extreme anxiety, just look at the enormity of what he has taken on. He is terrified that what remains of his family will be torn apart if social services ever finds out their mother no longer comes home. These kids are afraid to ask for help for fear of losing each other.

With the help of Maya, Lochie cooks, cleans, does homework, bath time, plays and love his siblings like a parent would. Maya and Lochie become a team. Kit is being rebellious, a typical teen angst with reason. How can he even process his feelings?.How does Lochie a 17 year old know how to deal with this? He doesn’t.  There is a fight that gets physical and it changes these brothers. Lochie is no longer a brother, nor is he a father. He cracks, he loses it. Falls apart. This is where the shift happens. Maya comforts, giving love and support to her brother. To herself. These kids are so starved for attention they have to find it themselves.

What starts out innocent turns into something more. Let me be clear on this point. Incest between siblings happens. Quite a bit actually. Not in an abusive way but an adolescent curiosity that hormons and closeness lends itself to. What happens between Maya and Lochie is not in my opinion abuse.  I think it was a “natural occurrence” exacerbated by their circumstances. Not once while reading this did I root for them or feel this was a romance. Not in anyway. I don’t condone it or support sibling incest. However, I did feel their need to feel loved. They had been propelled into the role of parents and feelings became muddled. There is only one actual sexual encounter that starts a chain of events that I never saw coming.

When Lochie and Maya are “found out” in such a horrible way breathe just left me. The description of Lochie in the police station sucking his fingers like a child has left me devastated. He was reverted to an infant like state. He wasn’t given the emotional tools to handle his life. Nor the lives of the children he took on.  When Lochies life came to an end I felt and still feel such anger. Anger toward a mother who just didn’t care.  Anger to a father that left. Anger to a school who clearly knew something was wrong and did nothing. Anger to neighbors who could not have been blind to this. Anger at an epilogue that in no way should have ended the way it did. These kids are still alone on their own.  I just wished this author would leave the reader feeling a sense of hope for the kids left behind. That in the end Lochies’ death changed the outcome for the better. Maybe giving a reader who, may be living these circumstances, hope. She didn’t and that angers me too.

I have given this book 5 stars. 5 stars because a good book should make you smile, cry, angry, sad, joyful and leave you feeling the words on the page. Forbidden has done that. This book will be with me for awhile. I know it. It’s almost physical the weight I feel in my chest after the last chapter. I still feel it the day after.

My only warning…….. be prepared to read it. It’s not easy.

Love-love
T~

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