Thursday, 27 June 2013

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma (4/5)

First published: 2010
Page count: 324

The back says: “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?”

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.

I say: I cannot recall where I first heard about or saw this novel, but I knew that I wanted to read it out of that morbid curiosity I have, and even though I admittedly was very much uncomfortable during some parts, it was a learning experience.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

More than just two siblings falling in love, this is a story about Lochan and Maya who have to take care of their 3 younger siblings because their alcoholic mother prefers to go out partying. We alternate between their voices and the struggles they go through trying to juggle school, friends (Maya has some, Lochan has none), get money from their mother before she spends it, while making sure that social services don’t find out about their situation and breaks up their family. It is while depending on each other to make it all work that Lochan and Maya fall in love.
I consider myself a very open minded person, and I do believe that people should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as they don’t hurt anyone. However, while reading this and taking part of Lochan and Maya’s justifications of their actions, I couldn’t help but question my own thoughts about incest. Personally, this is nothing I could ever dream of doing, but I did keep asking myself if it was my, or society’s, business what they were doing. Without getting too deep into all of this, one of the reasons I continue to torture myself read about topics that make me uncomfortable is to look at things from a different perspective and gain a deeper understanding of why people do certain things or behave in a certain way.

In short, I like literature that makes me think; and this made me think.
A lot.

Forgetting the incest, which isn’t all there is to this novel, I genuinely felt the vivid descriptions of Lochan’s anxiety attacks whenever he had to speak with anyone who wasn’t family. The same goes for the angst - it felt so real, so tangible. Suzuma is excellent at capturing the minutest details of emotions and everyday drama that I’m left in a state of awe at her wordsmithery (not a real word, I know). There were a few instances when the sentence structure seemed too mature and advanced, but that may just be my idea of how teens should speak.
So yeah, 4/5 because it was a great read with the type of ending that I absolutely relish. Saying what it is would be a serious spoiler, but even though I could see it coming, there is one little change in the end that I didn’t expect.


  1. I've heard this is a disturbing novel, in more ways than one it appears. I'm not sure I could be so open-minded about it, so I don't think this one is for me but I did enjoy reading your opinion of it.

    1. You've heard right; it's not just the incest that's disturbing (although that does its fair share), but also the neglect from their parents and other adults around them. I kept wanting to say that the reason Lochan and Maya started their "relationship" is because they felt that they had no one else to turn to, but...