Past lives…do you think you’ve had some?
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Do you believe you’ve had previous lives? Even if you don’t, are you intrigued by the concept? Or are you certain it’s hogwash? Whatever your stance, you will be interested in this book.
There are three main characters in The Forgetting Time, a four-year-old boy named Noah; his single mom, Janie; and a professor of psychiatry named Jerome Anderson. Noah has a variety of problems. One is that he is terrified of water and refuses to bathe. Another is that he suffers from nightmares so severe they even frighten Janie. Equally concerning is his frequent request for Janie to let him go home because he wants to see his other mommy.
Ultimately, he is asked not to come back to nursery school because his other odd behaviors — such as talking about a .54-caliber Renegade rifle — are upsetting the classroom. Of course, he has no knowledge of such a weapon according to Janie.
At this point, she takes him to a psychiatrist. The diagnosis there is unsettling: childhood-onset schizophrenia. An antipsychotic medication is prescribed. While googling the effects of such drugs on children, Janie happens to click this link, that link, and the other link until she finds Dr. Jerome Anderson, who “for many decades has been studying young children who seem to recall details from previous lives. These children, often as young as two or three talk in specific detail about missing their previous homes and families…”
Though he is the perfect expert to consult, there is a problem in dealing with him: He has recently been diagnosed with a progressive type of dementia affecting the brain’s language center and his memory is failing.
Though this book is fictional, the author includes lengthy quotes from someone named Jim B. Tucker, M.D. These quotes provide case studies of children who remember past lives. In the acknowledgments at the end of the book, we learn that Tucker is a real person and that the author consulted with him as she wrote this book. Tucker works at the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and he has two nonfiction books on this topic. The first is Life Before Life: Children’s Memories of Previous Lives. The second is Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives. Case studies from the first book are the ones the author uses in the novel.
I find the question of prior lives to be an interesting one and so this was an engrossing read for me. It was made even more compelling because of Jerome Anderson’s personal medical issues. A clock was ticking in the background! Could he help Noah before his memory failed and all his knowledge was gone? You’ll want to read this book and see!
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