The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Total Pages: 403 Pages
What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.
Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.
In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.
This book was definitely unique! I adored that this was a concept that hasn’t been done before (or at least the “forgetting” part hasn’t been done, the whole society inside a wall being run by a corrupt government certainly has). Initially, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Nadia. She didn’t have much of a personality, and it wasn’t until she started to change and grow into herself that her character grew on me. My inability to connect with her fully definitely caused me to struggle a bit with this book, plus the story itself seemed to drag at times, but I did get past that for a few reasons. First, the uniqueness of the story definitely kept me reading. I wanted to learn more about Canaan, its people, and this whole “forgetting” business. Second reason was Gray – I just enjoyed his character immensely. There was a – moment – when I almost had to give up on him, but he redeemed himself. I’m also not the biggest fan of the ending, it was a little abrupt, and I feel like there were definitely questions that were left unanswered.
I liked the idea that people were encouraged to write down their lives so that they could remember them later, after the Forgetting. I’ve always loved journaling as a concept (although I’m pretty terrible at sticking to it), and have recently been having regrets that I don’t have journals to re-read and reminisce about. I feel like I’ve lost so many memories from my childhood, high school, and college that I would love to remember. I’m sure we’ve all been there, right? … someone reminds you of something and you have that “oh shit, I totally forgot about that” moment before feeling kind of nostalgic and sad because you wish you had remembered and you don’t know why you didn’t? Yeah… feel like that could be avoided by journaling! So, at least Canaan did something right! Kudos, Canaan!
Unfortunately, although I really enjoyed this book, I don’t have too much more to say about it. What I’m going to do, instead, is talk about something that was going through my mind the entire time that I was reading this. That is: if given the opportunity, would I want to forget everything about my life every 12 years and start over? I’ve got to admit, there are certainly pros and cons to that. There are definitely years in my life that I’d prefer to forget, particularly hard years where I lost people that I loved or was battling personal demons, those years are pretty tempting to forget, even if I did lose some good memories (like friends and family) along with it. I’m a firm believer, though, that without everything from my past, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. Each memory that I have, whether good, bad, awful, or sad, is a little brick that builds the person that is me. So, I’m going to have to say no, I wouldn’t forget everything about my life every 12 years if given the opportunity.
Well … would you?