Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
G&J ~ 5+++ Stars
“How can something so wrong feel so right?”
Gitte: I have no words, honestly none, that can give a deserving recognition of just how harrowingly beautiful and severely upsetting this story is. It left me absolutely distraught but not for the reason I expected. I read Forbidden in one sitting and it made me question who should be allowed to love whom when it’s consensual and of no detriment to anyone in society.
“You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel”
Tabitha Suzuma’s writing is beyond sublime; the words bled from the written pages into my battered and broken heart as I read on. There’s not many more taboo subjects than the one dealt with in Forbidden, quite frankly, it will make many readers not want to read it. This is a mistake. Trust me! It’s one hell of a hard and difficult read, yet, at the same time it’s the easiest too because I hesitated once, only once, because truly, I got it, I understood, I felt it and I was willing….willing it with all my heart to end up a certain way. I will never forget this story, it completely ripped out my heart as I cried for hours.
“At what point do you give up – decide enough is enough? There is only one answer really. Never.”
Forbidden is one of those epic written masterpieces every true reader will want to experience. It will challenge your morality, your perception of what’s right or wrong. It will make you believe for a moment in time that there’s nothing simpler and more deserved than consensual love, no matter who you are or what you are. It has courage and heart in abundance. But also, and this is what I believe is one of the strongest messages in this story; when two young people are forced into a stressful and heart breaking parental role through no choice of their own, they will adapt accordingly and any support or love given is soaked up like water in a sponge. What is love if not based on friendship, support, acceptance and a shoulder to rest your weary head on?! Maya and Lochan’s story is love in its true definition; their powerful story will break your heart yet at the same time I thought it to be inspirational and it had a purity that was astounding considering the topic which is abhorred by society.
“At the end of the day it’s about how much you can bear, how much you can endure. Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves.”
Lochan will forever be etched in my memory as one of the most beautiful and selfless characters I have ever had the honour of reading about and I will never forget this journey! So many questions come out of reading Forbidden, what are the results of conditioning by society? Circumstance of childhood? Attitudes? Living your life in secret from the outside world with only one person who truly understands the hardship? Well, the list goes on. Is love really that wrong when both parties are willing participants and when that love is harmless to others?
“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?”
Thank you to my book soul-mate for insisting I read this story! I know you’ve not forgotten a moment of how you felt when you read Forbidden three years ago, have you Jenny?!
Jenny: Absolutely Gitte. I have never forgotten the deep seated emotions Forbidden elicited from me all that time ago, nor will I ever. At the time of reviewing this book on GR in 2011 I made the comment “I think this book will stay with me forever” and it definitely has done just that. In fact, discussing it with you again after you had finished it brought all those feelings of hopelessness and despair I experienced whilst reading it, to the surface.
It is testament to an authors talent when they can write about such a taboo subject such as incest which can have you reeling but then have that same subject become secondary to the story, to the point where it falls into the background and you find yourself concentrating on the unfolding love story and believing in the their relationship between Lochan and Maya, due to the circumstances which brought them to that point. In my mind I was saying their relationship was wrong but in my heart it felt so right. There were definitely a lot of conflicting emotions going through me at the time but what I remember most about this book was the intense love I felt between the children and between Lochan and Maya. That these two young souls were forced into a situation of being parents when they were still children themselves broke me.
“He is my soul mate, my fresh air, the reason I look forward to getting up every morning.”
I’ve championed this book since I read it and have only met a few people who concentrated on the incest part of this story and have not been consumed the story of Maya and Lochan. The majority have felt as I did and have become consumed with the story itself and not the taboo subject.
“There are no laws, no boundaries on feelings.We can love each other as much and as deeply as we want…….”
I have wanted Gitte to read this book for so long. I knew she would feel every page of this book and experience deep emotional feelings because of her passion for reading and her respect for a well written story. I knew this would burrow deep into her soul and her feelings after she read Forbidden were as intense as I expected. It’s not often you’re afforded the opportunity to read a book that has such a profound effect on you and I know G and I will be discussing this one for a long time to come.
So, as Gitte said, if you can put aside your feelings in regards to the taboo topic of this story and push forward you will never forget it. It will break your heart and it will have you questioning yourself all through it.
“What else could he possibly have done? What choices did he ever have?”
This was such a beautifully tragic story of love and commitment and of love knowing no limits. Of two young people forced to survive and protect their family in such a hopeless situation.
“It was only a matter of time before it broke through our fragile web of denial, forcing us to confront the truth and acknowledge who we are: two people in love – a love that nobody else could possibly understand.”
We put this book forward as our Bookclub read this weekend and we the response was overwhelming. There wasn’t a person in that group of 70 readers who didn’t feel something, who didn’t experience true sadness throughout this book. It will certainly test you but it’s a test worth taking.