I read a review of Forbidden and thought to myself, “What a freaking creepy concept.” And then someone on facebook posted that she read it, loved it, and if you ever wanted to feel sorry for some incestuous Brits, this was the book to read. So I got an ebook copy and read it in a little more than a day.
My initial thoughts: for about half of the book, there is a very minimal creepy factor. It’s the story of a family with five kids, a crazy mom, and a dad who’s left his family in pursuit of something better, whatever that means. The older two kids, Lochan (a boy) and Maya (a girl) are responsible for their younger siblings, who range in age from five to thirteen (I think).
Lochan and Maya essentially serve as parents to their younger siblings. They care for them, pick them up from school, take them to the hospital when they’re sick, help them with homework, bathe them, etc. Everything most parents do (or should do) for their children. So it’s no wonder when their relationship takes a slightly pervy turn and they realize that they’re not just best friends, but they like each other. You know, like-like. And then there’s kissing, touching, and eventually, there’s sex.
Here’s where some semi-spoilers come into the picture. Fair warning has been given.
Big surprise — Lochanan and Maya get caught. I saw it coming from a mile away. A book like this can only end one way, just like books about dogs always (almost always, really) end with the dog dying. It’s a given. What I was blindsided by was how they got found out. I won’t give details because if you read it, it’s always nice to have something left to surprise you, but needless to say I wasn’t expecting it.
And after they’re caught and Lochan is sent to jail? Oh my word. So sad. But what he does was so undeliverable to me. And the end of the book, like the very end, just left me going “No. Way. Not buying it.” Obviously when you read a lot of fiction, the expectation is that you suspend your beliefs and step into the world the author has created, but there has to be buy in to make you believe in fictional world. I had buy in right up until the end of the book.
Spoilers dunzo. They weren’t too bad, right?
Now. I will say I actually enjoyed this book for what it’s worth, and I actually did find myself feeling sad for Lochan and Maya because really, the stars were against the from the beginning, and if they’d been older, I would’ve said go off yonder and do your thang. But what I liked the most, that made me actually feel sorry for them, was the family dynamic Suzuma created. Lochan even points it out in one instance, telling his sister that those who were abused often become abusers, and if anyone ever found out about their relationship, they would see it as abuse. I thought this was smart: those five kids are neglected in so many ways and perhaps part of what they do is because of that neglect and the forced mother/father dynamic because of Crazy Mom’s absence.
Anyhow. It was a thought-provoking read, and now I have all kinds of weird, creepy things stored on my iPad’s cache, like “incest” and “conscentual incese” and “genetic sibling attraction.” Awesome sauce.