(I received a free DRC from Penguin’s First To Read program in exchange for my honest review.)
Okay, so what can I tell you about The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr without spoiling anything for you? Hmm…
This is tough! But as other people have been saying, this is a lot like that movie 50 First Dates, but I’m going to take it a step further and add that it IS like 50 First Dates, but on STEROIDS! At least in the movie the main character could remember everything about her day until she went to bed and woke up the next morning and forgot about everything that happened or who she met the day before. Unfortunately for the main character in this book, Flora, her short term memory resets itself multiple times a day due to an operation she had when she was 10 years old to remove a tumor from her brain. When the doctor’s removed the tumor it also accidentally took the part of her brain that saves her short term memories, causing her to have anterograde amnesia. Because of this, to help her remember things she’s constantly writing on her arms and hands and also in her trusty notebook to remind her of what’s going on when she forgets. The most important note that she always keeps on her arm being “Flora be brave.” The longest she can remember things is usually a few hours and the shortest she can remember things is one hour or even less (minutes sometimes!).
The book opens up with a 17 year old Flora (10 year old girl’s mind trapped in a 17 year old’s body) at a going away party for, Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, which is being hosted at Paige’s house (Paige is Flora’s best friend). Drake is leaving to attend University all the way in Norway. While at the party Flora feels confused and overwhelmed so she decides she needs some fresh air and eventually finds herself sitting on some rocks on the beach overlooking the sea at night. Drake finds her sitting by herself and joins her and they talk about his moving away to the land where it has a “midnight sun” and he flirts with her before they share a kiss. Flora is surprised with the kiss and doesn’t want to forget the moment happened so she rushes home to write about it in a notebook before she forgets it the next morning. She wants to relive the moment over and over again (and trust me she does!). Turns out she didn’t have to write it down because when she wakes up in the morning she can still remember that moment crystal clear! She convinces herself that Drake and the kiss have helped her remember and he holds the key for her to start remembering everything. So, after she receives a promising and encouraging e-mail from Drake she embarks on a journey all the way to Svalbard, Norway to find him again. However, is everything as it seems in Flora fractured mind? Can she even trust herself or her loved ones?
I would rate this a 4 out of 5 stars. I did enjoy reading this book, it was pretty interesting to read and get inside of an amnesiac’s head, and it was a pretty fast read surprisingly (it could definitely be read in a day easily), but with that being said it did get very repetitive and tedious to read at times. Also, a few of the characters frustrated me like Paige in the beginning the way she was talking and treating Flora, I thought she was acting so selfish, stupid, and immature. She eventually redeemed herself though, which ended up being one of the reasons why I liked this book. A few other reasons why I enjoyed this book was because of how cool and protective Flora’s older brother was of her even if he was all the way in France, I got a kick out of the description of her father and he was adorable, and just all the interactions Flora had with other people and how willing they were to help her when she needed it. The reading experience with this book brought smiles to my face and even made me tear up a few times. It was definitely an unique and interesting take on a coming-of-age tale that I would definitely recommend to other people to read.
Are you excited to read this book this year? Is this one of your most anticipated books to read in 2017? If so, be sure to check this book out, which is being released in the U.S. this Tuesday, May 2, 2017! What other books are you looking forward to that are being released this year? Let me know in the comments below!