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Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

January 27th, 2008 (04:30 pm)

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Young at Heart by Frank Sinatra

Imagine looking in the mirror and doubting the reflection. That looks like you, certainly, but you aren't that age, not yet. What happened to you? Why can't you remember? When will you remember?

In one misstep, Naomi lost years' worth of memories. After hitting her head on the steps after school, she wakes up in an ambulance, more aware of the pain than what actually happened. Sitting with her is a boy she doesn't recognize.

Soon, she won't recognize herself.

Further examination shows that she can't remember the past four years of her life. She knows who she is - who she was - but as she has no recollection of more recent events, she must rely on her family members and friends to fill in the blanks. She is shocked to learn what has happened to her family and uncomfortable around her boyfriend Ace and her best friend Will. She is strangely drawn to James, the boy who found her and rode with her to the hospital, who wasn't her friend before the accident.

Like memory itself, the book has many layers. Naomi knows she is lucky to be alive, but she is unsure how to live that life. She feels like a stranger in her own home. She feels like a stranger in her own body. As others - especially her father and Will - share their memories of her WITH her, Naomi wonders if her own memories, should ever resurface, will compare to these stories. She wants to get back to herself, but who is she now compared to who she was then?

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin is a memorable story, no pun intended. Naomi's physical, mental, and emotional recovery are all vital, as are yearbooks, photographs, mix tapes, and a coin toss. The reader learns about the narrator as she learns about herself, making for a rather singular reading experience. With its intriguing plot and engrossing writing, I consider this to be one of the best books of 2007.

Three Favorite Quotes
I wasn't comfortable with how much Will saw. He made me feel transparent when I was still opaque to myself.
"There are all sorts of things I could tell you," he said, "if you ever wanted to know them."
It's when you don't need something that you tend to lose it.

Three Times a Lady

The book is split into three sections:

I was . . .

I am . . .

I will . . .

Think about that.

Read my interview with the author.


Posted by: E.C. Myers (ecmyers)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)

Great recommendation! I love this book.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)


Posted by: kimberly (kimberweeme)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)

Just recently read this book and thought it was excellent. I did enjoy the first part, I Was, the most but it was intriguing through to the end.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC)


(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)

Enjoy the rest of the book. I won't say anything more until you've finished it!

Posted by: Vivian Lee Mahoney (hipwritermama)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)

Too funny. I just borrowed this book from the library over the weekend.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)

Good timing.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: February 2nd, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)

From a. fortis: This one sounds cool! Very much up my alley--when I was younger I loved Joan Lowery Nixon's The Other Side of Dark, which is about a girl waking up from a four-year coma. Similar, but not too similar--it sounds like they both have that kind of confusion and suspense that's so gripping. Can't wait to read this one.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 2nd, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)

I enjoyed JLN's books as well. While she had more of a thriller-element, this book is more realistic, if that makes any sense. No murders or ghosts. :)

Posted by: MaYu (newlife18)
Posted at: February 4th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)

I read this book a while ago and I loved it .. btw u know there is gonna be a movie adaption ? :D

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 4th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)

I didn't know that! Congrats to Gabrielle!

Posted by: Meg (injichan)
Posted at: February 7th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)

Hello. I am actually doing a book review on Memoirs for my finals. I expected too much from this book, that's why the first time I read it, I really was so disappointed. I expected more details. But then, after reading it again (for evaluation purposes) I realized it was a great work. Zevin is so clever dividing the sections into I was, I am, I will.

One of my favorite lines: “I wondered if the person who really loves you is the person who knows all your stories, the person who wants to know all your stories.”-- This statement really had me thinking.

Anyway, I am comparing Memoirs with Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella. And I think the better book was Zevin's.

There is a Japanese movie adaptation on Memoirs and I read somewhere that Gabrielle Zevin wrote the screenplay. Hans Canosa is the director.

Just thought of sharing :-)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 7th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)

Good luck with your book review!

I have not read Remember Me? by Kinsella.

I so want to see the film.

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