Monday, November 17, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

I was intrigued by the premise of this book. Falling, hitting your head and getting amnesia and a chance to reinvent yourself. What a concept! What would it be like to have a blank slate with which to start your life over? What high school student wouldn't love to be able to reinvent themselves?! The reviews of this book were very positive, it seemed like a bit of a psychological drama, and even got a STAR review from Booklist. On the surface, a decent read, with lots of young adult appeal, and although I think the story and characters had potential, I was disappointed. Anyone else feel that way?

I thought the author could have delved into Naomi's character a bit more. The author alludes to Naomi's memory lapsed being connected to her parents separation, but she never develops that is tossed out into the mix and then dropped. Her relationship with James seems too pat. They go from being madly in love, to nothing. The section where she is at his graduation taking pictures for the year book with such calm and objectivity seems implausible to me. I was also amused with her relationship with Ace...and did like the way the author brought their relationship full circle in the end. I think the author does a great job of showing us the "real" Naomi, the Naomi who can't figure out what she ever saw in Ace...and why she didn't like her father's fiance. Her amnesic self is more mature and likable than the old Naomi. The story plays out like a rebirth, and that I did like.

I also liked Will's character. I feel the relationship between Naomi and Will is the most developed. I thought her description of Will, "Will instantly feels 'comfortable and broken-in like favorite jeans...'" very telling, almost foreshadowing. I felt terrible about the way she treats him as she struggles to find herself, but love the way their character reconnect. I liked the line, towards the end, as she discovers her feeling about Will, “I had thought the way I felt about Will was just a room, but it had turned out to be a mansion.”

I will stop here, and wait to see what you all thought, and then jump back into the conversation.