Friday, December 3, 2010

In Which I Discover a FORBIDDEN Book...

Friends, I have read a book.  Okay.  So, that in and of itself is probably not a real big shocker.  Well, not at all actually.

What I meant to say was that I have just finished reading a book that dragged me kicking and screaming through an emotional wringer.  Never in all my years of reading (admittedly a lot, considering how ancient I am. gasp! 31) has a book so overwhelmed me with such a variety of emotions.

I was frightened.  I was curious.  I was nervous.  I was more than a little sickened.  And, that all happened before I even pressed the 'Confirm Order' button on Amazon.  But then, I screwed up my courage and charged forward.

And, do you know what?  I'm still not so sure whether I'm glad I did.  Wait.  Yeah, I am....er...no, maybe I'm not. 

Minions, I am severely conflicted because I really don't know what to think, even now as I write this to you.  So, first, I guess I should probably introduce this book that so affected me that I am still reeling from the shock, the sadness, the soul-deep ache that it has forged within me.

The Book:  FORBIDDEN
The Author: Tabitha Suzuma
The Publisher: Definitions (an imprint of Random House Children's Books) 

First off, I must tell you that this book was recommend to me by Bee over at Dreamcatcher's Lair.  If you don't know her, you must hop over sometime and check her out.

The Summary:
Lochan and Maya are brother and sister, who while children themselves have taken on the arduous task of raising their three younger siblings.  At the ages of 12 and 11 respectively, their father left, abandoning them and their mother to travel halfway around the world and start a new family of his own.  Their mother, bitter from being saddled with five children that she never wanted to begin with, begins a downward spiral, losing herself in booze, barhopping, and shacking up with much younger men. 

Our story begins when Lochie and Maya are 17 and 16.  In the years since their father's abandonment, they have stepped up, taking up the roles of mother and father to their sister and two brothers, all the while working hard to keep their own grades up.  Their lives are ruled by caring for the children and maintaining the thin facade of a normal functioning family for the outside world. 

Soon, their affections for each other morph into more than just that of the bond a brother and sister share.  And, they realize that they love each other in a way that is--in the eyes of society--appalling, wrong, sickening, and illegal.

My take:
While reading this book, I vacillated between being sickened, shocked, and outraged to aching for these children and the trials that they faced, their loss of everything: their parents, their shot at a normal life, their childhood, their innocence. From the beginning, it was obvious to me that Lochan and Maya cared for each other greatly and depended on each other for more than for just the emotional support needed to keep their family together.

And, even when their physical love for one another became readily apparent (not until close to halfway through the book), I didn't know whether to root for them to be together or wish that one or both of them would come to their senses.  Really, I still don't.  There were times in this story where I found myself conveniently forgetting that they were brother and sister, and other times, I was distinctly uncomfortable with some very (at least in my mind...especially for YA) explicit sexual encounters.

Then, there was the ending.  GUH.  That's all I can say.  That's all I will say.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone who should be fearless enough to read this book.

All in all, friends, I'd have to say that the books I always highly recommend are the ones that resonate with me long after the last sentence was read.  FORBIDDEN will stay with me, that is for damned sure.  But, I'm still not certain how to feel about it.  It's left me with a hole in my gut, a piece of me cut out and left, bloody and wasted, resting between the pages.  I can't say whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's my thing.  And, I won't be telling you that you must read this book.  It's just too startling, especially the reactions it evokes within its reader.

Have you ever had that happen with a book, friends?  Please tell me I'm not the only one, here.  Please?