A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

TBR Challenge: Forget Me Not (Mnevermind 2) by Jordan Castillo Price

on May 18, 2016

The theme: Something “different.”

Why this one: I broke my “print books only” rule this month, because my print tbr is 99% historical romance, and .99% contemporary or paranormal romance. I decided to go truly out of my comfort zone with science fiction. As it turned out, most of the science fiction in this trilogy (of the two books I’ve read) was in the first book; the second is almost all romance and character study. So not really all that different; don’t tell the Theme Police.

Forget Me Not is narrated by Elijah Crowe, the autistic man who started mysteriously appearing in Daniel’s mnems in book one. (Mnems, pronounced “neems,” are a bit like programmed dreams– a simplification, but it will do for the purposes of this review.) I was not in love with how Elijah’s autism was perceived by Daniel in The Persistence of Memory, so what a relief and joy it was to discover that he’s not only a beautifully drawn character, but his own narrative is not self-hating.

“‘I see the way you treat Big Dan,’ he said, as the elevator settled and the first floor light went off. ‘Like a regular person.’

Although his use of the word “regular” was problematically inexact, I had a sense of what he meant. Big Dan [Daniel’s father] wasn’t neurotypical, but neither was I. Being neurotypical was overrated, in my opinion — plenty of people like Tod and Ryan were about as ‘regular’ as you could get, and as far as I was concerned, it didn’t make them any more appealing.”

The story is mainly about Elijah’s navigating his newfound interest in another man, something which is difficult for him because the dating rules he’s learned so carefully may not apply. There are a lot of roadblocks in the way, including Daniel’s prejudices, a therapist who believes Elijah may be the victim of a predatory Daniel, a scarily homophobic bully at Elijah’s work, and Elijah’s sensory issues. Not all of these are fully resolved, though I suppose they may be in the third book. (From the reviews, it doesn’t look like they are. I would love to see him find a new therapist who really supports him, doesn’t infantilize him, and for God’s sake, helps him find a non obtrusive stim instead of having him fight it all the time.)

I appreciated that Elijah has neither cute quirky romance novel autism nor cliched lit fic aloof autism. He’s genuinely disabled, but not helpless, and he’s a fully realized, sympathetic, and lovable person. His anxieties strongly resonated with me, and I was saddened by how much he feels the need to change himself for others, even answering the classic “top or bottom” question by deciding,

“I would force myself to be whatever would go best with him. After all, he’d had several years in which to develop his preferences. I was new at being gay. I would adapt.”

Thankfully, Daniel is patient and not at all pushy.

As with the first book, the ending kind of fades away, so it’s really not a complete story. But it’s completely worth reading anyway.

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9 responses to “TBR Challenge: Forget Me Not (Mnevermind 2) by Jordan Castillo Price

  1. lawless says:

    I have to remember to buy and read the third book. I thought Daniel was wonderfully realized. It’s the best portrayal of an autistic person I’ve seen in fiction.

  2. azteclady says:

    Because you know whereof you speak of, I find your commentary on these topics invaluable. Thank you, Willa.

  3. Dorine says:

    I love characters who struggle and win. Sounds like a great book. Science fiction would be completely out of my comfort zone as well. Good choice!

  4. Valancy says:

    ‘cute quirky romance novel autism nor cliched lit fic aloof autism.’

    That sentence so PERFECTLY describes the spectrum of autism/aspergers in SO many books.
    How refreshing to read a story where a disability is just a part of the realistic struggle of everyday life.
    I think I will have to read it simply because of that!

  5. I have been interested in this series, but was wondering about how Elijah would be depicted. I will have to give this a chance especially if you liked it.

  6. […] TBR Challenge: Forget Me Not (Mnevermind 2) by Jordan Castillo Price May […]

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