Book Review: A Place of Forgetting by Carolyn J. Rose

A Place of Forgetting
Carolyn J. Rose
Carolyn J. Rose, September 2011
Also available in trade paperback

This novel could be classified as Young Adult in that the protagonist is just nineteen, I certainly remember the 1960’s as a teenager, but it’s meaty enough to  also be classified as literary women’s fiction.

Nothing seems to be going right for Elizabeth as disappointments pile up one on top of the other; her dog dies, the young man she’s loved all her life boards his flight to Vietnam where he becomes one of many MIA’s,  and then she’s presented a note that she should help take care of the flighty young woman who claims to be his fiancé. All of it is too much and she flees in her rusty old car, “Buggy” for a better life in Chicago. But, nothing goes as anticipated. For one thing, the so-called fiancé decides she’ll go along for the ride. Detours abound, until they reach a new and life-changing destination that will make all the difference to Elizabeth.

As a reader and a writer, I thought I knew how it was going to go, only to be surprised at the originality of the plot. I don’t want to do a run down on the events—the turns along the way for any reader are too sweet to spoil, but let me say that this is one of the best fiction books I’ve read all year. It was delightful in its intensity, the development of the characters,  and mostly in how Elizabeth finally comes into her own as a young woman.

I can see this novel as a really good subject for a college class. And, best of all, I believe that it’s going to become a much loved favorite for many young women.

Reviewed by guest reviewer RP Dahlke, January 2012.