Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

[Important note: when I talk about incest in this review, I'm referring only to consensual incest between two people over the legal age of consent -- just felt I should clarify that.]

by Tabitha Suzuma

Summary: She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But ...They are brother and sister.

Warning, bad metaphor comin' up: Reading this book felt kind of like knowing a train was going to crash but getting on it anyway for the thrill of the journey.

Basically, the book was fantastic but it's one of the saddest, most heartbreaking books I've ever read -- Romeo and Juliet have nothing on Lochan and Maya, in this book the love they had for each other felt so real that it almost jumped off the page and it was the true definition of forbidden.

"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 exstinguish ourselves." -- Page 207

Whenever I watch movies like Titanic, there's always this part of me that is hoping with everything in me that the story will end differently -- of course, that never happens. It can never happen.

This book was my Titanic, I knew it wasn't going to end well from the very first page (because these stories rarely do) but I got so attached to the characters that I was mentally pleading with the author to make things different for them... but of course, the book is already written and the characters fates are already set in stone.

The book was really emotionally draining -- I absolutely adored Lochan and I could really relate to his characters social anxiety, I wanted so badly to take his pain away, that's how real he became to me. All of the characters were very real and their lives are realistic: some unfortunate people in the world really do live like that. Sad, but true. (Their parents made me so beyond angry and I think it's the fact that there are parents in the world really like that, that made me react so strongly to it.)

I'm not sure if I'm glad I read this book or not, it's one of those ones that has gotten under my skin and it's going to stick with me for a really long time... which wouldn't be a bad thing, except it's so sad, thinking about the story hurts. It managed to really make me think about the whole issue of incest in a way that I never have before.

I mean, I've said before that I have this warped fascination with reading stories about it because it's like the ultimate forbidden romance, but this book really made me think about where I stand on the issue in real life.

It made me realise that my "love is love" motto that I apply to things like gay marriage should also apply to this as well. It's terrible that we live in a world where society can tell us who we should or shouldn't love -- or even throw us in jail for it.

Not wanting them to have kids thing is completely justified because of the health risks to the children,* but just stopping them from being together? They're not hurting anyone, it should not be a crime -- people don't have to like it or approve of it, but that doesn't mean they should have the right to control it either.

Sorry, getting a bit carried away. But yeah, the book is really brilliant... I mean, it left me feeling like my emotions had been put through a shredder, but it was so well written with characters you can't help but latch onto and it really makes you think.

If you're grossed out by stories about incest, I still suggest you give this book a chance, maybe it'll change your perspective on the issue. Most people can't view the issue in an objective way, they can't get past the feelings they have for their own relatives to be open minded enough to accept the fact that some people can feel anything different towards a member of their family.

I guess that's all I can say.

Oh, except: please be warned that this book isn't one of those YA books that sugar coats things because the author/publisher doesn't think teens are mature enough to handle reading about sex or people swearing... when I said the book is realistic, I meant it (and that is just one more thing that makes it so fantastic).


*I'm not 100% sure on the statistics when it comes to birth defects in children of siblings. If it is a high risk, then I think it's selfish to have a child under those circumstances when there are other options like adoption or sperm/egg donors--they could still be parents, I don't think that right should be taken away. (I had said not "allowing" them to have children before, when I really meant not wanting them to have children).

p.s. Rating systems for books, yay or nay? When I write certain reviews, like this one, I always feel like I'm being kind of unclear of how positive/negative my opinion of it was, I think maybe ratings might help (this book is definitely 5/5 stars, for the record). But yeah, do you like ratings?


  1. Great review. I got this one in the mail and I was not sure if I wanted to read it. I will definitely give it a try.

  2. Loved your review, book sounds good. Is it out yet?

  3. wow, this book looks really good. Creepy, yes, but like a good read :D
    I'll have to check it out

  4. I randomly rate books just to show on a scale kind of where I'm at, but it doesn't matter to me. I like having them in other's reviews sometimes.

    However, I really want to read this book. It sounds fascinating and I love books that deal with issues that most people don't want to address. I think love is love too. Having kids is different and it might not make sense or seem "gross" to some people...but you have to think that it might be the best thing for some people. It's all about different people and different cases.


  5. @Savannah, yup, it's out. I think it came out sometime within the past two months? Not sure, but it is out.

    @Sarah, definitely check it out, it was really brilliant. It may *sound* creepy just because of the taboo subject, but honestly, reading it, their relationship didn't seem creepy at all... their love totally made sense and seemed so pure and genuine, it was heartbreaking, never creeped me out at all.

    @Lauren, I concur. (Psh, why is it that other people can say in one paragraph that it takes me long rambling blog posts to say?) =P

  6. I have to admit, I never really thought of incest as being in a similar realm as gay marriage. I think that's because incest isn't something that's really ever discussed in much detail. Its not something that eve really seems to have a chance of social acceptance. But reading your reaction to this book has made me think that maybe I need to rethink the issue. But still, I have to admit that it does creep me out a bit. But I think that might just be societal values ingrained in me speaking.

  7. This book definitely sounds intense and interesting.Great review!

  8. I just bought this book the other day, because I haven't read anything bad about this book so far.

  9. I came to your blog through google, searching for the book. And your great review seriously made me want to read it :)
    Thank you~!

    ps. I'll check out your livejournal post ;)

  10. i agree with you completely! it was the most amazing book i've ever read! i read it in a matter of 26 hours of buying it and i was crying for about half the book! getting attached to the characters is hard not to do with this book! with how much detail Suzuma goes into, it's mind blowing.

  11. I am pretty psyched that i was not the only one who was "enlightened" by this book. Which means i totally agree on whatever you are saying. Even though incest is taboo, i'm really glad that T.S. wrote about it. I hope everyone would have the chance to read it. I mean, they should know about Lochan, about what he does! for pete's sake just for his family to be happy! If they ever do, i hope they rethink their current stand on this issue. This book maybe fiction but ... somewhere, ...this is the reality. Your book review is amazing. i hope....more people could read this so that they will be encouraged to read this.

    P.S. i've just read forbidden yesterday...everythings so fresh that though i was hearing mass this morning,..a tear still fel as i remember the ending sigh.

    see you in livejournal :)

    watch out for drkkizzes12

  12. I have read this book and I loved it!However Iam really sad because I know that I will not find another book like that again. The way its written- so real. It makes yo want to read on and on without stopping untill you get to the end and you want to read it again. The unexpected ending. Its just a brilliant book. If anyone does know a book like this one then i would be grateful for suggestions.



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