1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Heartbreaking!, 28 May 2010
If you thought that the Greeks and Shakespeare had the monopoly on tragic, beautiful love stories then think again. Forbidden truly is a modern day Romeo and Juliet for a contemporary audience. What's more it deals with a far more emotive and impossible situation than two warring families. In fact probably one of the most impossible situations to overcome when dealing with a love story as Forbidden is a novel about incest.
Incest? I have a brother and my immediate thoughts were the admittedly immature ones of "ick!" but literature at its best is about pushing boundaries so I pushed mine and began to read. Thank the Lord for that because what a treat Forbidden was (and completely "ick" free).
When you first pick up Forbidden you would be forgiven for thinking that this taboo is something which is rare and perhaps it is. As you read on, though, you begin to see how it could possibly be a natural progression in a damaged family and there must be hundreds of families in England (thousands and thousands in the world) who are just as damaged as this one. Older children in these families will find their own coping mechanisms; Lochan and Maya's coping mechanism is each other.
Lochan is approaching his eighteenth birthday; Maya is sixteen. They have three younger siblings and an absentee mother who pops in once every couple of weeks when she needs a change of clothes or Lochan has nagged her enough about paying the bills that she drops off a token amount of money to cover them. So, still school children themselves, Lochan and Maya have become the mother and father figure in the house. They pay the bills, cook the food, shop for uniforms and survive the daily drudgery of child rearing such as homework, bath-time, bed time and dealing with tantrums. On top of all of this they have to keep up their school work and hide their mother shaped hole at home from everyone for fear of the children being taken by Social Services.
For the non-parents out there in Reader World you will know that a secret can hold two people together, that sharing a secret with just one person can make that one person be the only one you can feel truly yourself with. For parents of young children and young teens you will read this book and see the familiar scenes of family chaos - nagging, whinging, crying, attitude and having nothing in the kitchen cupboards - that can drive you to distraction. You will see Lochan and Maya dealing with this as a young couple who love and support each other.
Forbidden is beautifully written. We start the book with Lochan and Maya seeing each other just as siblings and you are a good hundred pages into the book before any glimmers of attraction appear. This is a skilful move by Tabitha Suzama and a perfect example of subtle story telling as you (the reader) see how subtle and natural the change in Lochan and Maya's feelings for each other are. Yes I keep using the word `natural' and perhaps, considering the circumstances, that is very much the wrong word to use but, when you read the book, that is exactly how it feels. Perhaps not a natural love but definitely a natural progression.
Throughout the book my heart broke a thousand times. It broke as an adult who understands the heartbreak that love can bring. It broke as a human being living in a modern Western society; knowing that this was a love that couldn't possibly lead to a life of happiness. Most of all it broke as a mother. I wanted to cry for five year old Willa who has never known a real family life and soldiers on through scraped knees and falling out with best friends with quiet acceptance - not even realising that her class mates go home each night and share these parts of their lives with loving parents. My heart breaks for the eight year old Tiffin - just beginning to realise that his mother isn't all that she should be yet still aching for her to be there - half still a little boy and half understanding for the first time that his mother doesn't really want him. My heart aches for thirteen year old Kit who already knows all that Tiffin does and has now reached the stage of his childhood where he knows about sex and acknowledges that...well that his mother is a promiscuous drunk who is happy to ditch her kids for weeks on end to try to recapture her youth. Poor Kit is also struggling with the alpha male in the house - Lochan - and resenting that his brother acts more like he is his father and orders him around. Plus the embarrassment that his brother is a social reject - that does not help their relationship one bit.
Most of all my heart breaks for Lochan and Maya and you will read this book wondering how on earth they can have a happy ending...
Forbidden is written by Tabitha Suzama and published by Definitions (a Random House Books company) ISBN978--1-862-30816-9