Sunday, February 3, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374349460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374349462
  • List Price: $17.99
  • I finished this book on Feb. 1
After reading Zevin's Elsewhere, which I was in love with I was dying to read more of her stuff. When this came in at my library I was very excited, and thanks to a snow day last week, I read it in one day.
Here goes: Naomi (the second Naomi in a month, but I can't spell it anyway) looses a coin toss, goes back for an expensive camera and takes an epic spill down her high school's front steps. Head wound = amnesia. She can't remember anything that happened since 6th grade. This includes but it not limited to: her parents divorce (and subsequently not speaking to her mother or ever meeting her new sister), her best friend, the first time she had sex, and the fact that she kept a psychotic food diary (and probably had an eating disorder).
The players: When she has her accident a mysterious soap-opera quality brooder is there to call the ambulance, he's James. The best friend that she doesn't remember, Will, a Duckie-esque nerd boy who makes her plentiful CD mixes. Ace, douche name to go with a douchy tennis jock (yeah, tennis) who was Naomi's bf and former teen sex partner. From the get go it's obvious that 1. she can't stand Ace (neither can I) 2. Will is in love with her and 3. She digs on James, who is obviously cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Angst, fighting and self discovery, as I'm sure you can imagine, surely ensues.
It's a neat idea to imagine how you would perceive your life if you woke up and didn't remember it. Would you think your friends were assholes? Would you think you were an asshole? Very cool. Zevin certainly makes the most of the idea and even though I wasn't in love with Naomi as a character I really liked her story. I think Zevin's strength is that her characters are very realistic. They have good sides and bad sides and they are very honest.
While this traded the magic of Elsewhere for a more realistic drama I really liked this book. And, since I tend to trip a lot, now I'm all concerned that I'm going to loose my memory. Oy vay.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

You should read Weatherly's Kat got Your Tongue as a companion piece. I picked both of them up in one week rather by accident, and reading two different accounts of amnesia was fun. I loved Elsewhere and couldn't begin to tell you why.