I accepted a copy of Forgetting Zoë for review because I’d seen Scott Pack rave about it on numerous occasions. I didn’t love it as much as he did, but am pleased that I read it.
Forgetting Zoë revolved around the abduction of Zoë, a ten-year-old girl. The first few chapters introduced us to Thurman, her captor, and went some way to explaining the mindset of a man about to imprison a girl. We were then introduced to Zoë as she was abducted and imprisoned in a converted nuclear bunker beneath a remote farm house in Arizona.
The book was told from the point-of view of Thurman, Zoë and Zoë’s family. It was fast paced and very well written, but the pace of the book meant that it lacked the emotional depth I’d expect from a book with this subject matter. The short chapters and continuing switch of view point meant that I never had long enough to really engage with any of the characters. This could be seen as a positive attribute as it meant that I never became distressed while reading it, but I found it strange to read such a dark subject without getting tears in my eyes.
It was interesting to read Zoë’s thoughts about her abduction and to see her reliance on her captor grow, but I’m afraid that I can’t say any more without spoiling the ending for you.
It is almost impossible to review this book without comparing it to Room, my favourite book of the year so far. The two books had very similar plots, the only real difference being that Room was narrated by the five-year-old child of the abducted woman. The main reason that I found Room so special was the innocence of the child, the way his mother protected him from the true horror of their situation and the fact he could actually find happiness with so little. Many people that read Room wished some of the book had been narrated by his mother. I never felt that, but if you did then I suspect that you’ll enjoy Forgetting Zoë.
Recommended to anyone looking for a fast paced, intelligent book about the lives of those affected by the abduction of a child, especially those who thought Room was overly sentimental.