Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin


I want to give myself a big pat in the back for actually finishing this book. I have this bad habit in which the longer I haven't read or finished the book, the odds of actually finishing it shrinks to zero. When it comes to this story I shock myself as to how fast I read easily 50 pages within an hour and I believe because of my fast pace and the trying to figure how this fascinating story is going to end it kept that passion of trying to finish it. If it weren't for my laziness I would have finished this book in three days and I believe because of that long pause of touching the book ruined my flow of emotions and the rating of this book.

We are introduced to the chaotic world of Naomi who is currently on the ground waiting for the paramedics. This boy who she doesn't recognize called the ambulance because she fell down the stairs of her high school. When they examine her and make sure she is perfectly fine, we discover that she has no recollection of her life from the last 6 years. Now that she does not remember anything during that time span, her family and friends have to help her fix the missing pieces and it is interesting how much things can happen to our lives in the span of 6 years.

Her parents at first think that she doesn't remember everything and inform her she is adopted which she knew immediately but she learns instantly that her parents are actually divorced, her mother cheated, got remarried, and Naomi now has a little sister. She learns that she hasn't spoken to her mother in ages and the list goes on. After recuperating from the hospital, she returns to her "new" home and tries to live a normal life hoping one day that her memories came back.

During the course of the story, we get to see how the things that the old Naomi loved become apparent that she doesn't actually love it or she was oblivious at the time to accept reality. For example, she has a boyfriend named Ace who they both played tennis. After hanging out with him countless times, she discovers they have nothing in common except for tennis, and quickly the sparkle that was supposedly there is now blown out and she dumps him. Her best friend Will is Co-Editor of Yearbook with her and they were obsessed with creating the perfect yearbook and throughout the story it becomes apparent that she doesn't enjoy it anymore and at the end of the day she wants to enjoy life and not the trivial stuff of designing a year book.

We meet the boy who called the ambulance and his name is James. Right from the start, Naomi has the hots for James and we get to learn that James is not the perfect guy for her. He is dealing with depression, suicide, death of a loved one, and tons of other drama that while I loved his character I found it a bit unrealistic. During the first half of the book I was so caught up into this story and Gabrielle Zevin is magnificent on how to attract her readers into this very unique story.

The tiny part of this entire story that really pissed me off was the unrealistic drama between James and Naomi. James gets accepted to a university in California and flies to visit his dad and take a tour of the campus. He doesn't want to go and Naomi makes a deal that if he desperately needs her company she will fly over to California. She actually hates the idea and unfortunately he calls her in a panic and tells her to immediately come to California and that he will pay the flight and everything.

The most common logic would be to phone his parents, and to tell her father about the whole situation. But of course she lies to her father, hops on a plane by herself and flies across to the West Coast to help James. I found that plot line so unrealistic because (I) How the hell does James have $600-800 to fly his girlfriend? (II) If I was flying for a supposedly "yearbook conference" as a parent I would need to see school verification information showing that my child is telling the truth. (III) I would be scared shitless to be with an unstable person like James. Thank God in the end her father found out about the situation and brought her back home.

The other issue I have and this applies to most YA books is the concept of being in loved with someone. I honestly believe there are only few YA books that accurately portray what loves means and make it profound. Naomi is always saying that she loves James. By the time we reach the end, she is relieved to not being with him anymore, forgets about him like as if he is a complete stranger, and to me it was obvious that she wasn't in love with, she just had intense feelings for him and with him being unstable added that flare of intensity.

I was disappointed by those two things that I cannot give it 5 stars which sucks because it was only the last 70 pages when it all went to hell. I was satisfied with the ending and I could not believe that it took her all these years to realize who she was actually in loved. This book felt very personal for me over the concept of losing ones memories. If I was in her position would it be a blessing or a curse? I believe it would be both but I am glad for my memories both the good and the bad. I have a memory of an elephant and my memories are extra precious to me that I do not know what would happen if it was gone.

Another superficial feeling about losing my memories is all the beautiful songs, movies, television shows, and books that I spent countless hours of my personal life. Thank God I write reviews so that way I can look back and try to remember. In the end I highly recommend this book because I found the writing to be unique, fast pace, and a story that will bring a lot of questions into your life and how our memories are extremely sacred for us. I do not have the proper words to write a beautiful review but in the end just know that I really enjoyed it and I wish they could make this into a television show because that ending left too much imagination for the reader.

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