Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Love redefined in a demanding novel about the hopelessness of falling in love with the wrong person. 

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Simon Pulse | Hardcover, 454 pages
I, Joy of Joyousreads, have finally slayed the dragon. Hiked up my skirts and timidly dipped my foot in the murky and cold body of water that was Forbidden. It took a couple of years; a couple of years of reading countless spoilers in the hopes that I could psych myself up. But let me tell you: nothing, nothing could ever prepare anyone for Forbidden. It asks too much from people. It begs us to understand and accept a relationship that was unfathomable. A reader would struggle (as I have) to forgive a romance that goes against everything that we’ve known of love and relationships. I intended to read this book from cover to cover but I struggled to do so. I just couldn’t get past it. I can’t bring myself to jump over the hurdle that no matter how precious and sincere their love was, at the end of the day, it was still an unaccepted reality that only a few could stomach. I couldn’t. I guess I’m just a follower and believer of the conventions of love.

The genesis of their relationship began as co-parents to their three younger siblings. Because other than helping out financially, their mother was pretty much useless as a parent. They were more often left on their own. The older siblings had to take responsibility for the care and feeding of the younger ones. And while I could see why Maya and Lochan would naturally turn to each other for support, I had a hard time trying to reconcile how they go from loving each other as blood relatives to loving each other like lovers. The icky factor stayed with me throughout the novel. Trust me when I say that Ms. Suzuma certainly made a case for it. And I tried, really I did.  I just couldn’t.

The epicentre of angst that I feared was the end. Lochan was a bundle of anxious nerves as it was. He worried himself to death. And you will have no recourse but to worry with him – feel for him throughout the novel. The uncertain future, the possibilities of jail time and losing his siblings to the Child Protection Agency resided in his mind constantly. He’s also painfully, heartbreakingly shy. He’s a straight A student who wilted under the spotlight of other people’s attention. The only people he was comfortable with were his siblings. Which was another justifiable reason why he could only turn to his sister for companionship but again, I couldn’t accept it.

Forbidden demands a lot from its readers. Understanding, sympathy, and an open-mind. While I had given it my utmost understanding and whole-hearted empathy, I just couldn’t digest the type of romance it’d served. But I remain in awe of Ms. Suzuma’s writing and her ballsy attempt to introduce the kind of love that though, unacceptable and criminal, it could happen given the right environment. Sometimes, we don’t choose the people we love. Love chooses us. This tragic story is unforgettable. It’s a book that will be burned into the retina of my mind’s eye for a long time. For those who remain fearful of this book, I think you should read it anyway. Consider it a fodder for the other angst-heavy books you might read in the future.

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

You may also like