I’M NOT CRYING. YOU’RE CRYING.
The Memory Book was so very good basically. It nearly made me sniffle. I actually had A TEAR INSIDE ME (and this is the Vulcan who cries at nothing) over the complex and emotional characters and the incredibly beautiful writing. Applause from me!
I will have a Pros & Cons list, though, because that’s who I am, Bob. But before get to that: YES this is an “illness book”. It’s about Niemann-Pick Type C which is an illness that affects your memory and gradually shuts down your body. It presents like dementia plus your body is failing. (Some of the symptoms include: slurred speech, enlarged organs, epilepsy, psychosis, depression, mutism, delusions, loss of muscle tone, etc.) But while this is a sad book it wasn’t depressing the whole time. A lot of the story is about Sammie’s life, friends, her love of chocolate milk, falling in love, books, and life as a super smart nerdy geek.
- SAMMIE WAS FANTASTICALLY RELATABLE AND NERDY.
I definitely adored her! She’s written this “journal” to herself, so it’s letter/journal style and she’s has dry epic self-depreciating wit which I adore. And — oh pfft, let’s just have a LIST WITHIN A LIST of reasons I love her.
- Sammie goes to a party and…READS A BOOK.
- She cares more about Middle Earth than actual earth sometimes.
- She is a huge nerd and likes complicated things and is top of her class in school.
- She’s accused of being very intense/serious.
- She sometimes fails at social cues, what a precious cucumber. <3
- She can drink a gallon of chocolate milk in one sitting (while reading a book preferably).
I picked up a book called Anagrams and started to read. I felt someone’s eyes on me and looked up. Stuart. I held up the book like someone would hold up a glass. Cheers. Parties, right? Ha-ha. It’s that I don’t know what to do or say it’s just that I’ve been to so many parties that I’m tired of them and would rather read this book ha-ha so don’t worry about me I’ll just be here.
- GLORIOUS EMPHASIS ON FAMILY.
Sammie has THE BEST family! She has two parents who are freaking awesome and loving and supportive and three younger siblings who are adorable and she’s SO NICE TO THEM. I love family books, oh gosh.
“I don’t know, Mom. Now that I’m about to graduate, I plan on being more spontaneous.”
Mom opened her eyes and burst out laughing.
I said, “Got spontaneity on the calendar for next Tuesday.”
- THE ROMANCE IS KINDA ADORABLE.
Although, full disclaimer: the romance is also on the cons list. BUT WE’LL GET TO THAT. At the beginning of the book Sammie has a mega-crush on Stuart. It’s ridiculously adorable how their relationship develops. Slow burn. They go out for iced-coffee. At first he just kisses her on the cheek while they get to know each other. They talk about nerdy things! Stuart is a WRITER. STUART IS FABULOUS. So initially = toot toot I am all aboard this ship.
- THERE IS FRIENDSHIP.
Although I admit, I didn’t like Sammie’s BFF, Maddie, who was seriously self-centred and just arghgh. But I loved Sammie’s initial friendship with Cooper (WHO IS A DORKY ADORABLE NERD). And even though Sammie was super bad at socialising and friendship…she didn’t sneer at others. #yay She didn’t act like a Special Snowflake Too Smart For This World AND THAT WAS JUST GOOD.
- THE WRITING WAS DOWNRIGHT BLISS.
You know that feeling when you pick up a book and you just think, “Okay this is super well written. I am going to like this.” BECAUSE I HAD THAT FEELING. The characters all leapt off the page and Sammie was so real and just — okay, epic fangirling flails over the writing.
- THERE IS…UM…A LOVE TRIANGLE.
I don’t like to give blanket statements like “I hate love triangles” because truth is: they CAN be well written. And this is a well-written triangle. Because both boys are complex and developed (and adorable dangit). But it still doesn’t make entire sense to me why it was there. And I always get disappointed that boys/girls are rarely in books as JUST FRIENDS. Like…why not??? Also I have to vent a little so SPOILERS BELOW. Don’t click the tag unless you want to be RUINED for the romance outcome:
- I WISH IT’D GONE INTO MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE ILLNESS.
I’d never even heard of Niemann-Pick Type C until I read this! And while the book DID talk about it, it was actually focused on Sammie’s memories of things. She recorded a lot of the good stuff, not so much the bad. Which made the book easier to read, I think. But…I can’t help wishing I’d known more about the darker side. Plus she didn’t talk about her decline in health, so when it came, it was REALLY fast.
I definitely say The Memory Book is AMAZING.
Incredible writing and complex characters are my weakness. PLUS THE FEELS. PLUS SAMMIE’S RELATABLE AWESOME. I felt completely swallowed by the story and it was a delight * having my heart stomped on by this book.
* Did I say delight? I’m 100000% lying. I AM NOT OKAY.
THANK YOU TO HACHETTE AUSTRALIA FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. The Memory Book by Lara Avery is published July 2016.
Samantha McCoy has it all mapped out. First she’s going to win the national debating championship, then she’s going to move to New York and become a human rights lawyer.
But when Sam discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she’d planned so perfectly is derailed before its started.
Realising that her life won’t wait to be lived, Sam sets out on a summer of firsts.
The first party.
The first rebellion.
The first friendship.
The last love.