Emma Tupper is a dedicated lawyer with a bright future. But when she takes a month-long leave of absence to go on an African vacation, she ends up facing unexpected consequences. After she falls ill and spends six months trapped in a remote village thanks to a devastating earthquake, Emma returns home to discover that her friends, boyfriend, and colleagues thought she was dead—and that her life has moved on without her.
As she struggles to re-create her old life, throwing herself into solving a big case for a client and trying to reclaim her beloved apartment from the handsome photographer who assumed her lease, everyone around her thinks she should take the opportunity to change. But is she willing to sacrifice her job, her relationships, and everything else she worked so hard to build?
In Forgotten, Catherine McKenzie tweaks a classic tale of discovering who we really are when everything that brings meaning to our lives is lost.
I've been reading Wuthering Heights and decided to take a break from it; so, I chose to go light and picked up my new copy of Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie. Now, I've read McKenzie's two other books, Spin (which I hated) and Arranged (which I enjoyed), so I knew that Forgotten could go either way. What I didn't expect, was that it would go nowhere and land smack in the middle between 'like' and 'dislike'. Oh well. It was still slightly entertaining, which means I didn't waste my time reading it - time being my evening from last night when I could have been watching Flipping Out (I hate Jeff!) or The Mindy Project ( Love Mindy Kaling!).
Well, as you found out from the synopsis provided above, the book is about starting over. Its about when life provides you with a somewhat clean slate from which you can start over - pick a new career, move to a new place, fall in love with someone new, etc. - sounds pretty good, right? However, not everyone embraces change and would rather keep trucking along in a life that just isn't bringing the Happy.
Emma is a lawyer who loves her job - arguing is her cup of tea and everyone knows it. When her mom passes away and leaves her a trip to Africa, she decides to go and experience the country her mother always wanted to visit. However, an earthquake ruins the trip and Emma winds up staying five months longer than she had originally intended. During her time in Africa, she only contacts her best friend and boyfriend once. Cut off from the world, Emma spends her time helping to build a schoolhouse and grieving over the loss of her mother. When its finally an option to leave (earthquake devastated everything), she decides that its time to go home and back to her reality. Of course, being away for six months means that a lot of things can change, especially when no one has heard from you. Email accounts are shut down, ATM cards don't work, phone numbers no longer exist and apartments have been leased out, best friends are MIA, and boyfriends are now dating arch nemeses- what the frack? Seems like Emma has a lot of explaining to do and a lot of catching up to do.
Settling into her new, but still familiar old life, Emma is struggling to figure out how so much has changed since she's been gone. She realizes that even she's changed. And everyone keeps telling her to use this time to start over, to figure out what she really wants to do with her life. What they don't seem to understand is that Emma just wants her old life back. Or does she? Yeah, you can pretty much guess that Emma will still want some of the same things (like being a lawyer) in her life, but that she will also be open to accepting new people and things into her life now. Emma's time in Africa not only introduced her to some amazing people, but it also allowed her to grow in different ways. She's now able to recognize that her life is more than just her job; love is not based on convenience; and family is always there for you.
Okay, so the story itself was formulaic, and the characters were stereotypical, but the story still managed to make me smile. I wanted something light to read and that is precisely what I got in Forgotten. The book was easy to get through and held my interest just enough that I wanted to find out whether or not Emma would fall for Dominic (although, did I really need to wonder about that - as I mentioned, the book is formulaic, i.e. predictable!). The writing was okay, but nothing to write home about. In fact, I found the way things happened to be rather too unrealistic at times, which made me laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Also, the majority of the plot is too predictable, so much so, that you can pretty much figure out what is about to happen right before it happens. Overall, the book was fun and although I won't remember it two days from now, I do appreciate it what it did for me - whet my appetite for something better to read (Wuthering Heights, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and whatever else I decide to pick up - perhaps, The Casual Vacancy or NW).
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!