What’s it all about?:
Noah wants to go home. A seemingly easy request from most four year olds. But as Noah’s single-mother, Janie, knows, nothing with Noah is ever easy. One day the pre-school office calls and says Janie needs to come in to talk about Noah, and no, not later, now – and life as she knows it stops.
For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has stopped. A deadly diagnosis has made him realize he is approaching the end of his life. His first thought – I’m not finished yet. Once a shining young star in academia, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a professor of psychology, he threw it all away because of an obsession. Anderson became the laughing stock of his peers, but he didn’t care – something had to be going on beyond what anyone could see or comprehend. He spent his life searching for that something else. And with Noah, he thinks he’s found it.
Soon Noah, Janie and Anderson will find themselves knocking on the door of a mother whose son has been missing for seven years – and when that door opens, all of their questions will be answered.
Sharon Guskin has written a captivating, thought-provoking novel that explores what we regret in the end of our lives and hope for in the beginning, and everything in between. In equal parts a mystery and a testament to the profound connection between a child and parent, The Forgetting Time marks the debut of a major new talent.
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: Did you have any first impressions about this book before you started?
BETH: I don’t think so. I thought the synopsis was intriguing if not a little confusing and was eager to find out how each character was connected to each other and how the story would slot into place. I thought it might be quite an emotional read as it deals with a little boy that has multiple issues. The strangest thing about Noah however, is that he keeps telling his mother he wants to go home i.e. to his OTHER mother. What I wasn’t expecting was the reasons behind his thoughts and feelings.
BETH: Who was your favourite character in the novel and why?
CHRISSI: Argh, that’s a tough one, so I’m going to pretend that I’m allowed to pick two. I loved Noah and his mother, Janie, but for differing reasons. I just found Noah so intriguing and I wanted to know what was going on with him. I enjoyed reading about Janie because of her love for her child. She would do anything for him and that warmed my heart.
CHRISSI: Discuss how Tommy’s mother Denise reacts to Noah and how meeting him helps her come to terms with her loss.
BETH: I felt so sorry for Tommy’s mother! She lost her son Tommy when he was quite young and it has broken her family it seems for good. She blames herself for what happened and so does his older brother. When Noah comes into their lives and certain revelations occur she finds things a bit hard to accept at first (like we all would!) but also has a gentle hopefulness that now they might get some answers about where Tommy is – sadly, no trace of him has been found and he is still registered as a missing person. I thought her reaction to Noah was very believable but I especially enjoyed Noah’s interactions with Tommy’s older brother.
BETH: Noah and his mother Janie have a very close relationship but it is fraught with difficulties. How do you think their relationship develops over the course of the novel?
CHRISSI: I loved the relationship between Noah and his mother Janie. It was clear that they had a special bond and that Janie would do anything to protect her child. It really was about what lengths a mother would go to, to protect her child. Their relationship did run into difficulties, especially when Noah kept on speaking about his other mother. I can imagine that puts a strain on any relationship. However, I believe Janie would do anything for her son and that motherly love is strong throughout despite any bumps in the road.
CHRISSI: Talk about the ending of the novel – do you feel there is a resolution for all the characters?
BETH: Hmm. Unfortunately the ending of the novel was a place where I felt slightly disappointed. Certain things were wrapped up very smoothly i.e. the mystery behind Tommy’s disappearance, so I was glad to see a resolution for that family. I think the relationship between Janie and her son Noah was strengthened considerably by what they go through in the novel so that was also nice. However, I did want to see something more about Jerome Anderson and perhaps what life would be like for him now the situation was at a close. I enjoyed him as a character and felt things were left a bit up in the air with him at the end. I don’t know… something just didn’t feel right and I don’t think I got the full closure I was hoping for.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
CHRISSI: I would! I really enjoyed Sharon Guskin’s debut. I think she’s an author to watch!
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Of course!
BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):