Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Published: May 27th 2010
Publisher: Definition
Read synopsis: Goodreads

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This book is a mindfuck! Sorry for the word but seriously, my emotions while reading this did betray my beliefs on some certain  controversial/sensitive issues. The way the story was told, the idea and concept totally shook my judgement, beliefs and assumptions. I found myself agreeing in some parts and wanting certain things to happen even when I know it totally contradicts the things I believe was right or wrong. For a book being able to provoke such kind of thinking from me and was able to waver my certainty on things at some points, I can say this is indeed an extraordinary and remarkable story. Though I would be honest, I do still find it disturbing and unsettling.

The idea of incest sure made me uncomfortable yet I saw a lot of good reviews about it. I have second thoughts on deciding whether to read it or not. But thanks to some of my GR friends who convinced me and assured me that this is definitely a wonderful read (and reminded me to keep tissues near by) I was finally able read it despite with my serious avoidance for too emotional books. This book made me laugh, worry, cry, hope, and see things in a more open-minded way.

Lochan and Maya's situation was hard. They have become the mother-father figure in their family since their father abandoned them and her mother was always too drunk, too wasted, too irresponsible to take care of them. Being the two of the oldest in the siblings Lochan and Maya took responsibility in taking care of the 3 more younger members of their family. They have become practically the parents in their family, doing exactly every little things their parents should be doing for them. They formed a unique bond, a distinctive understanding, a matchless care for each other and a forbidden relationship. Lochan and Maya, brother and sister. They fell in love.

I didn't actually freaked out or become grossed out with their relationship. And I admit at some point I kind of wanted their relationship to last, not to be found out and just be happy. But I know it was wrong and I definitely don't approve. However I do not blame them for having that kind of relationship. I got easily connected with them and I ache for them, for the hardships and sacrifices they have to endure at a young age. I saw their longing, their love, their devotion and it was just so much and so real and beautiful but still, still it was wrong, so wrong in so many ways. Yeah, I want Lochan and Maya to be happy, they deserve to be happy but I will not say that their relationship should be right nor that the everyone should approve of it.

(Note: This is purely my opinion.)

I don't think that's what the story is about. I think it's more of seeing everything first, knowing the situation and understanding circumstances first before we become so judgmental. It wasn't Lochan and Maya's fault that their relationship lead to something more. And I don't think they should be punished for that. They deserve to be understand first, not their romantic relationship I mean, but what they were outside of it. With their family, friends, classmates and teachers. The blame shouldn't be all put into them because, clearly, a large part of all the messed up things were caused by the irresponsibility of their parents. I put the blame more to their parents. To their dad for abandoning them, to their mom for her absence, for her lack of care, for her immaturity that she wasn't able to guide her children and see if there was something wrong happening.

After reading the story I realize that maybe if I heard something like the situation of Lochan and Maya I wouldn't be so judgmental to think that the people involve were seriously disgusting and should not be very much humiliated.

The ending made me tremendously sad. Seriously, after reading that I don't know what to feel anymore. But still, it was an amazing read. Suzuma made me do a lot of thinking.

P.S. I wouldn't mind recommending this to everyone but just so you know this contains mature stuffs so even though this is marketed to young-adult readers I think this is more appropriate to mature teens. There are stuffs that might put-off some readers but if you could take those and be a little open, please give it a try. Its a wonderful read. ^^


  1. Great review for a very challenging book. I like that the author delicately handled the issue (i.e. didn't sensationalize it). I agree it is more appropriate for older teens - even adults may find it disturbing.

  2. Thanks Jennifer! Yes, the idea and concept of the book was a bit disturbing and it contains sensitive and controversial issues but Suzuma still was able to make the readers be consumed by the story and be connected to the characters. :DD

  3. Love this book too, couldn't stop crying for Lochan! :( Great review!

  4. FORBIDDEN deals with an incredibly controversial subject, and readers should be warned. Lochan and Maya are brother and sister, but they love each other in the way that any normal couple would. The first half of the book doesn't even touch the subject; it sets the scene with depictions of a family falling apart and a set of siblings doing all they can to hold it together. The second half delves into their incestuous relationship and the torrent of emotions and consequences that come along with it.

    Though this type of relationship is looked down upon by society, I couldn't help but hope that Maya and Lochan would work out. Their love was deeper than any other I've encountered and it was truly real because of everything they had suffered through together. It was hard to accept the fact that they were related, but also easy at the same time. Their relationship, as you can imagine, pushed boundaries to their breaking points. The emotional side balanced with the physical side. The thoughts of each character were drawn out and talked about comprehensively. They were real people with honest emotions.

    This is one of those books that will rip apart your heart and make you question everything you've ever believed in. By the novel's end I was in tears. The story was shocking and difficult at times, but it was worth it. FORBIDDEN is a stunning read that shouldn't be missed.


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