On her 39th birthday, Janie gives herself a present in the form of a vacation to Trinidad. There she meets married Jeff of Austin. They share one night of passion, and then he’s out of her life forever. The one thing Janie brings home from the encounter is her son, Noah.
Janie adores Noah, but there are problems. He refuses to take baths, and any attempt on her part to bathe him results in frantic screaming. He knows about things that he’s never been exposed to. He tells Janie every night he wants to go home, to his “other mommy.”
Things get serious when Noah starts talking in preschool about handling a very specific kind of gun. Janie takes him to countless doctors and psychiatrists, with a possible diagnosis of schizophrenia. Desperate, she casts around on the internet and finds Dr. Anderson, a researcher who has spent his entire career documenting cases of past lives.
Anderson, at 68, has been diagnosed with aphasia, a degenerative disease in which he will lose his capacity to read, understand and correctly use language. With the recent loss of his wife, this is a tremendous blow, and he feels he has nothing left to look forward to. Until Janie calls with a request to meet him. Perhaps this is the “strong American case” he needs to finally get his book published, and his lifelong work accepted by mainstream scientists.
After their meeting, Anderson is convinced that Noah is experiencing memories of a previous incarnation. Janie is reluctant to believe in any of this, but her desperation leaves her little choice but to give it a chance. She just wants Noah to be “cured” and to be happy.
Anderson’s increasing aphasia causes him to miss some important clues in his research, and they initially visit the wrong family, a family that had lost their son in a drowning accident. The meeting is painful and wrenching, and Janie vows to be done with it all.
But Noah gives them an an important clue that leads them to Denise and her teenage son Charlie, an African American family living in Ohio. Denise’s 9 year old son Tommy had gone missing seven years ago, and it nearly destroyed her. Her meeting with Noah, Janie and Anderson will finally bring to light what happened to Tommy all those years ago.
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of reincarnation, and I tore through this book in a week, enthralled with the story and its implications. It stirred up questions of my own, so I wrote a post about a strange, recurring childhood dream that may have been not only a dream, but a memory.
Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, The Forgetting Time is an absorbing, entertaining read, and may even leave you pondering the nature of life, death, and reality itself.