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.