Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

Goodreads Summary: "If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss.
She wouldn’t have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn’t have hit her head on the steps.
She wouldn’t have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia.
She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place.
She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She’d get all his inside jokes, and maybe he wouldn’t be so frustrated with her for forgetting things she can’t possibly remember.
She’d know about her mom’s new family.
She’d know about her dad’s fiancĂ©e.
She wouldn’t have to spend her junior year relearning all the French she supposedly knew already.
She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her.
She wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him back.
But Naomi picked heads.
Sometimes a book comes along that you just fall completely in love with the voice that is telling the story, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac is one such story. There may have been a time or two when it slipped but for the most part I loved the voice though I am lacking in the words to describe it. Poetic maybe? Lyrical? It was beautiful. Captivating definitely.

The first lines of the prologue stated: "Above all, mine is a love story". This I disagree with. I didn't feel that this was a love story in the traditional sense. It wasn't a happily ever after fairy tale-esque romance in the vein of Sarah Dessen or Stephanie Perkins. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac was far darker. And yet there is romance. You just have to find it.

My favorite aspect of the novel was in fact Naomi's amnesia. I loved how it gave her a fresh slate, a fresh start and a new lens through which she could look through everything. It enabled her to do anything; it freed her to try anything or to be anyone. But everyone else kept trying to push her into the mold of her previous life. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac depicted oh so clearly how you cannot please everyone. I loved seeing how Naomi tried to combine her previous life with the new one that she was gradually creating herself. The reconciliation between the two was incredible and I loved seeing what struck her, what clued her in to past things, the clues, etc. It was the very best kind of mystery.

Beautifully written and terribly realistic. When everything is said and done I have to admit that I really did like this novel and I'm looking forward to reading more by Gabrielle Zevin...and am hopeful that her other novels have equally compelling voices through which they are told.

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