Title: The Forgotten Hours
Author: Katrin Schumann
Genres: Fiction, Coming of age fiction, young adult fiction
This book… I’m not sure where to even start. I absolutely loved it.
The author managed to use such a beautiful and compelling writing style to help unfold a complex, page turning story.
Normally when I finish a book, I am immediately on to the next one but this one I had pause for a minute because it is really sticking with me. I am DYING for someone to read it and discuss it with me!
When I read about the sensitive story lines in the book review, I proceeded with caution. But I don’t think that ended up being necessary.
The story flip flops between protagonist Katie’s life as a teenager during the fateful summer that leads up to her father being arrested for the statutory rape of her best friend LuLu, and her life as a young 20 something adult a few weeks before her father’s release from prison.
After Katie’s father is accused and convicted of the dark crime, we see how much these types of events can uproot so many lives and the different devastating consequences that it has on the families.
In the beginning, Katie vehemently and blindly defends her father, teetering between rage and pity for her best friend, insistent that because of her troubled past she has made the whole thing up. But even in her hatred Katie misses her friend deeply and thinks of her often, even trying to reach out several times after being instructed not to by family and lawyers.
It isn’t until she is an adult and the story is rehashed with his impending release that she decides to dredge up the past and dive deeper into what really happened that summer at the lake and find answers for herself. Like Katie, I was desperate to learn the truth along with her, hyperventilating as each detail about the case and that night her world exploded was unveiled.
One of her loved ones is lying, but which one? Was her father wrongly convicted? Did Katie’s best friend betray her, or was Katie then one that betrayed LuLu by not believing her?
It is interesting to see how our perceptions of who our loved ones are can be so different from who they REALLY are. How you can overlook their wrong doings and shortcomings, and be blinded by love for a person.
What I liked about this book is it REALLY captured the angst and pain of being torn between two loyalties. You see Katie’s unwavering loyalty to her father, a man who loved and cared for her deeply growing up that she only ever knew to be honorable and good, and then her loyalty to her best friend with whom she shard so many memories and milestones and secrets. The author really captured what it’s like to be caught in the middle of two loved ones.
As an adult, we can see how the trial and series of events that follow have affected Katie well into her twenties.
On top of the main story line, there are several interesting side characters that could have a story all their own because of their own depth and complexity. These characters each have their own contributions to the story and it is interesting to see how they experience the same trauma but in different ways, and their reactions to handling the emotions that come with having their lives upended.
Coming of age, rape, consent, age, complex relationships
This book really pinpoints how you can think you know someone so intimately, and really not know them at all.
“You could never truly be objective or dispassionate; your biases would always drive the way you saw reality and expressed facts.”
“Feelings were not facts, memories lied, and people were not who you thought they were.”
“Too often, people who suffered trauma let themselves be defined by it, and she has been determined to avoid that fate.”
“It was astonishing how you could be telling the truth and lying at the very same time.”
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