Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.
With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
Add the book on GoodreadsMy Review:
3 Out Of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery, Teen--
Flora has anterograde amnesia, not being able to form any new memories after the age of 10. When she has a romantic encounter with her best friend's boyfriend, Drake, she actually remembers it after the fact. Flora is motivated to go find Drake in Svalbard, to try and figure out why she can remember him when everything else in her life does not make sense.
I was so excited when I first hear about this book and I could not wait to read it. The premise sounded like a teen version of the movie Memento, where the main character has anterograde amnesia and can't remember anything but leaves notes laying around as well as writes on himself to try and piece together his life. I loved the movie and wanted to see how this book would play out.
Maybe my expectations were too high, but this was book was very hard for me to get into. The first 100 pages were the same thing over and ever again, the main character reliving the same day and having the same interactions and freak out that she had the first day. To be honest, I was bored. Everything just dragged out and I found myself zoning out while I was reading. It was interesting at times how she would realize that she had previously done the same task, but not 100 pages worth. Part 2, which was almost a third of the book became better since it was something new, but I was almost ready to stop before I even got there. I was so frustrated by the story, yet I kept coming back to the book because I was sure there was something else going on under the surface that I had to discover, so I kept chugging away.
Flora in so many ways is the 10 year old child she remembers herself as. She is so trusting and naive, crying when she may be lost, trusting of all adults and lots of strangers because she hopes they have answers that she doesn't. It was very hard for me to see her as a 17 year old almost-woman who wanted a sexual relationship with Drake, when she acted as a child. And I had serious doubts about Drake from the beginning- what 19 year old wants a girl who has the mental capacity of a child as a romantic partner, and then sex-mails her about what he wants to do to her? It was so awkward and weird! Pretty much everything about Flora and Drake's "relationship" was ridiculous to me, more like an obsession than anything, and how does love occur when you don't know each other? I had no connection to Flora as a character, I could not relate or empathize since she did not feel like a real person to me.
But let me say, Oh my Geez, the ending of the book was unexpected. I really did love Jacob as a character, even though I never met him, only read his communications (which is a cool way to have a character show in the book). It seemed like this was going to be a romance, but it was not even a little bit- it was a girls confusing journey to find herself. This was a really sad dysfunctional read that had it's interesting moments and then its awful, frustrating moments (which is kind of like an everyday thing for Flora- I still don't understand about the earless cat...). It is for sure a unique read, I just can't say that I enjoyed it. I recommend that other give it a try and see what they think about the book.
I received this title in return for my honest review.