“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could edit our lives the way we edit stories?” I recently asked one of my children while driving to school. “That way we could delete or change parts of our lives that we’d rather forget or that didn’t work out the way we hoped.”
Every morning I drove past her house on my way to work, and again in the afternoon on my way home. In winter, her front door usually stood open to let in the sun. In spring or fall I’d often see her sitting on her stoop, gathering light.
I am old enough to wish that I could forget certain parts of my life. Old enough to grieve certain losses, to mourn the demise of unfulfilled dreams, and to lament life’s inescapable disappointments. But what if the erasure of someone’s life is due not to avoidance but to a failing memory? Such is the case in Linda MacKillop’s thought provoking debut novel, The Forgotten Life of Eva Gordon, which releases this week.
Several months ago I found myself in the unenviable position of needing to buy a vehicle. After nearly 210,000 miles, my reliable Dodge Caravan (affectionately dubbed “The Rust Bucket”) had failed an inspection. To repair it would have cost twice what my van was worth. So with only a few options, I bought a used Subaru for nearly the same price that it had originally retailed for five years before.
‘Return to Sender,’ read the yellow sticker plastered over my friend’s name on the envelope I’d addressed and mailed a couple of weeks before Christmas, ‘Insufficient Address, Unable to Forward.’