Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: January 12, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
Back in May, I was at my local Barnes and Nobles when I came across a free sample for The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr. I decided to test it out because, well, why not?! Free is free right? Well as I went through the pages of the sample, I quickly realized that this was a book I wanted to read. So I waited for the release date.
What made me want to continue this book was Flora herself. She is seventeen years-old and suffers from amnesia and cannot remember anything after a few hours. She still is able to get through life, by staying in her hometown with her parents and best friend Paige. However, one night, on the beach, she kisses Drake, and somehow she remembers it all. Flora decides to follow her arm which tells her to “be brave” and travels to find Drake in the Arctic. This solo trip teaches Flora who she is and the truth about her life.
The sample was just the start of the reading for The One Memory of Flora Banks. Though there were some ups and downs, here is how I came up with my rating, and remember that “it is not a lie if you can’t remember the truth”!
Things I Like:
Good representation of amnesia
Prior to this book, I honestly did not know about anterograde amnesia. Having anterograde amnesia means that a person cannot create new memories following the event that leads to the amnesia. The writing of the main character Flora envelopes this entire idea. She constantly shows her memory of the past, before the accident, but could never remember anything without the aid of her arms and notebook. Many books may mention a medical condition without fully committing the main character to it, and Emily Barr did a very good job of Flora being an amnesiac.
As with any seventeen-year-old, Flora dreams about her first kiss and first love. When this happens one night with Drake, she falls heads over heels in love with him. Even though she knows he is moving to Svalbard, Norway, she can’t help but feel the intensity that she would call love between them. When she gets the first email from Drake; her whole world is turned upside down. These emotions play true to most seventeen year-olds when they think they have found their first love.
Good character development
Throughout the entire book, Flora’s character has been straightforward. She has amnesia – she forgets things. Simple. But it is not that simple. Depending on the medication that she is on, affects her behavior. This is seen in many areas of the book with the changes in dosages of her meds. Not only does this make Flora’s character more believable, but also more likable as a whole. Flora is made up of many complex aspects and those shine throughout the entire book.
So I have to say that the plot twists have to have been the best part of this entire book! Just when I thought that I knew just what would happen next to Flora, a twist in her life such as an email turns everything around. Not only did it make the book interesting, but it made me question just what exactly would happen to Flora on her journey.
Things I Don’t Like:
Selection of memory
There were some areas in the book that mention things that Flora should not know and/or remember. At best, I think that maybe it was written down in her notebook? But that would be a lot of random information that a person, even with amnesia would most likely not write down. Another example would be Flora’s memory of getting drunk. She mentioned the next day that she would never drink again, however, there is a slim chance she actually wrote down that she was drinking the previous night and would have forgotten it anyway.
Exploration of topics
I usually would not try and spoil any part of the book, but there was a quite descriptive section describing Flora digging Drake’s name into her arm. And although disturbing, it was also a very quick scene that was out of character for Flora. It felt a little bit forced for Flora to harm herself into remembering. Because it was not very characteristic of Flora, I am writing this as a thing I don’t like.
*END SPOILER ALERT!
Overall, The One Memory of Flora Banks was an insightful book to the world of amnesiacs. It made me happy and sad all at the same time. By the time I was finished reading I was hooked and wanted more. I give The One Memory of Flora Banks…
Do you think there should be a second book? If so, what will happen next to Flora Banks? Let me know in the comments below!(try to avoid any spoilers)
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