Alex and his brother are on their way to the cottage in Värmland where they spent so many happy childhood summers. But this trip is shrouded in darkness. Barricaded in the bedroom of the cottage is their mother Lisette, in the throws of one of her countless drunken benders. The brothers haven’t been able to reach Lisette for days, and if something isn’t done soon, she’ll drink herself to death. Now Alex must confront the disease that has been poisoning the family and his relationship with his mother for the past thirty years.
Through flashbacks to his childhood, Alex takes us back to where it all started: the apartment in the safe Stockholm suburb; the holidays in Spain; the summers in Värmland; and his mother’s voice, whispering loving words in his ear. When Alex turns eight , a dark veil descends upon the rose-tinted memories: the young boy loses his adoring, funny, and joyous mother to alcohol and out comes a bitter, aggressive, and fickle woman. The addiction becomes a looming presence in the life of the once happy family. Alex and his brothers hide empty wine bottles so as not to embarrass their mother, and there’s a silent agreement to never speak of her problems aloud.
Even as Alex becomes an adult and starts going to therapy to deal with the death of his father, he doesn’t talk about his mother’s alcoholism. Not even his wife knows how bad things really are. But when Alex and his wife come home to find his mother drunk while babysitting their youngest daughter, something snaps. Alex demands she seek help, but Lisette pushes him away and vows never to see her son again.
Back in the summer cottage where it all started, Alex and his brother finally manage to persuade their mother to seek help. But is it too late? Will they, after so much pain and so many harsh words, be able to reach some form of atonement? Is the glittering mother they once knew still alive within the aging and alcoholised woman before them?
Forget Me is a searing account of growing up in co-dependency with a beloved parent who is slipping away into darkness and violence. From one of Sweden’s most popular contemporary writers comes a gripping memoir that offers an eye-opening perspective on life in the shadows of addiction.
“This is incredibly good.
Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“Skillfully portrayed, Schulman takes us very close to the pain.”
Svenska Dagbladet (SE)
“Sad and moving.”
“Heart-breaking, clear-sighted, and powerful.”
“Straightforward, honest, and emotional from start to finish.”
Upsala Nya Tidning (SE)
“An incredibly sad book, but also unusually moving.”
“Forget Me is not just a therapeutic project where the author comes to terms with himself and his childhood. The book will without a doubt be a comfort to anyone with the same background, and give greater understanding to those of us who are fortunate enough to have a different story.”
“Schulman writes with care about a toxic and tormented mother, without ever making it too heavy to take part of and – be it autofiction or not – that’s no minor feat.”
“It’s fully understandable that Forget Me was named Book of the Year in Sweden in 2017. Firstly, the book is convincingly well-written, and secondly, it fits perfectly into a tradition of recently published books where children confront their parents and/or their childhood. This is about a son’s relationship to his alcoholic mother. […] Forget Me is highly recommendable, but not for the faint-hearted.”
Kristeligt Dagblad (DK)
“A grand, poignant book, written with searing finesse.”
“Forget Me is a complex declaration of love from a son to his mother. It is also a tale of atonement, and of the labor of forgiving a person who has forgotten: who cannot apologize for what she does not remember herself.”
“A brilliant portrayal of what it’s like to become a spectator of a loved one who ruins their life through addiction.”
Magasinet Liv (DK)