If I Forget You

If I Forget You: A Novel - Thomas Christopher Greene

This book was described as being deeply affecting and emotional, which I was hoping it would be. And it did turn out to be an emotional book for me, although not in the way I was hoping. Instead of finding this book to be touching and possibly heart wrenching as I expected, I found it to be annoying and it even brought forth a bit of anger in me that the author would think we forgot what happened in the first three quarters of the book when he wrote the last quarter.


This is a story of star-crossed lovers with the age-old hindrance of having been born on the opposite side of the tracks. Henry is the poor poet and Margot is the rich girl.  A most unfortunate incidence tears them apart.  Henry makes a life-changing decision that seals their separation.  The story is told in alternating time frames - the present day in 2012 and back to 1991.  Pretty much a same-old-story type of plot but written in a very readable manner.


The first point of annoyance that I have throughout the present day rendering is the constant reference to how "old" they are.  This author must be quite young himself if he feels that his characters' age of early 40's is old. In his eyes, I must be quite ancient.


That annoyance was minor compared to the main problem I have with this book.  I completely understand the decisions that both Henry and Margot made due to their youth and the circumstances that they found themselves in at the time.  What I don't understand are numerous comments made by each of the characters when they find each other again in their "old age".  The past and the present just don't connect at all and left me quite taken back with surprise and irritation.  I'd like to get into a discussion about this with someone who has read the book but a review isn't the time or place for spoilers so I'll just leave it with saying that I was baffled by the characters' present day reactions.  Why would Henry feel like he did in the present when he knows so well what happened in the past?  He should have understood Margot's decision based on the decision he himself had made and what he wrote to Margot.  The last quarter of the book just doesn't work for me at all.


On the positive side, the book is beautifully written with a poetic flair.  However, it's just not enough to save the book for me.  This book has been compared to "The Notebook", which is actually a good comparison since I found the ending of "The Notebook" to be just as unbelievable as this one. 


I won this book in a Goodreads contest.