Review: Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch

     Waiting to Forget
Sheila Kelly Welch; Paperback, 172 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by namelos (first published September 28th 2011)
T.J. has always looked out for his little sister, Angela. When Momma used to go out and leave them home alone, he’d lock the door so they’d be safe, keep Angela entertained, and get out the cereal and milk for her. When Momma’s boyfriend got angry at them, he’d try to protect Angela. Later, at their foster homes, T.J. was the only one who knew how to coax his little sister out of her bad moods. The only one who understood why she made origami paper cranes and threw them out the window.

But now T.J. is sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, wondering if Angela, unconscious after a fall, will ever wake up. Wondering, too, if he will ever feel at home with his and Angela’s new parents—Marlene, who insists on calling him Timothy, and Dan, who seems to want a different son.

Going back and forth between Now and Then, weaving the uncertain present with the painful past, T.J.’s story unfolds, and with the unfolding comes a new understanding of how to move forward.

I had a feeling about this book just by looking at that cover. It’s simply gorgeous, memorable, powerful, intriguing. I know, the cover isn’t always a good way to pick a book, but chances are, when the cover gives you that special vibe, it means the book has something very special to give as well. It’s this unwritten universal law of book vibes, don’t give me that look!

As the blurb tells you, this is a story told from a kid’s point of view; segmented in Now, Then, and Between now and then, it’s a recall of his and his sister’s life up to the point of present events. I’m not generally a fan of this sort of divided story telling, segmented by time frames or reality/dream/memory, but in this particular case, I feel it was a stroke of genius. The kid’s point of view is presented fabulously, with all the emotion and understanding a kid of that age would have, a smart, sensible kid. A very young adult, in fact; the way he takes his role as Angela’s big brother and his beautiful attempts to keep her safe throughout the book are incredibly touching, I mean I was teary-eyed a lot while reading this beautiful work.

True, on an emotional level, it may prove to be slightly overwhelming. I was overwhelmed with the desire to choke Celia, a lot. It is incomprehensible to me how monstrous a person one should be, in order to leave their kids for some bozo or the lazy pleasure of shopping on someone else’s budget, and before that submit your kids, that you chose to have, to horrible treatments so you can get your shopping on and get your jollies. I find that despicable beyond a human measure of description, it’s beyond revolting. Of course, we could go into that whole discussion of, yeah, but I need to have a life too, and I wanna have it easy, and laze around and have someone else do all the work while I just take credit for being me, and the circumstances that were so difficult, bla bla bla. There is no excuse, no matter how many reasons you’d excavate for. Celia is the poster girl for almost everything I despise; as you can clearly see, kids-related topics have a special place in my heart. So it was very hard for me, on many levels, to go through all of Celia’s nonsense and despicable behavior and general ineptitude, and no, I’m not going to cut her some slack on any account. She abandons her kids without any support (except some food in the fridge, yeah, wow Celia, how thoughtful of you, you really went out of your way to take care of your kids…) to go to Vegas with a moronic, aggressive little creep of a criminal, for God’s sakes. Being a part of the human beings club shouldn’t be a given, it should be a merit, you should earn such a title. I’m thinking Celia would definitely flunk that class. Sorry, I got carried away. Can’t help it. Anyways…

The story is beautiful, and I felt very happy that though it could have gone terribly, terribly wrong, on all kinds of levels, it has a happy ending. Well, as happy as it could be, given the circumstances. I loved T.J. and Angela unbearably much, and I went all maternal instinct on them from the very first pages. The characters in this book are so well built, I feel odd to talk about them as anything else but kids, real kids, kids I know and care about.

The writing is incredibly good, and the ability the author has to glide through very strong emotions and tense, horrible situations is superb. The whole book is superb, I cannot speak highly enough about it.

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, really high up there on that list, and I highly recommend this to anyone that likes solid substance to go with all the rest of the entertainment.

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