The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 15, 2008

Book reviews: Books deal with memory loss

‘Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac,' By Gabrielle Zevin, Teen Fiction

High-school junior Naomi forgets the last four years of her life after she falls down a flight of stairs and hits her head. She does not remember her parents’ divorce; her tennis star boyfriend, Ace; her best friend, Will; or why she loves being the co-editor of the school yearbook.

She feels like a completely different person, but in an effort to fit in she attempts to act “normal.” She sits at the cool lunch table, she attends parties, she holds hands with her boyfriend, but all the while she is miserable. Eventually, she develops a new identity — one she has trouble reconciling with her old self once her memory returns.

Gabrielle Zevin’s characters are mature beyond their years, but this is easy to overlook thanks to the intriguing storyline. The characters’ feelings and emotions are raw and convincing, and readers will have little trouble relating to the precarious circumstances the characters stumble into.

Zevin, who is also the author of “Elsewhere,” poses hard questions, and readers will find themselves pondering what they would do if they could start their lives, or at least their memories, over.

‘Remember Me?’ By Sophie Kinsella, Adult Fiction

Lexi Smart is convinced that she is dreaming when she wakes up in the hospital to discover that she has no recollection of the last three years of her life.

During that three-year period, Lexi became a supervisor at work, married a gorgeous, wealthy man; achieved a slim, trim new body, along with perfect teeth, nails and hair; and starred on a television reality show. Much to her dismay, she remembers nothing; however, she feels as though she has stumbled into a fairy tale.

Soon, however, she realizes that her posh new life is not all it appears.

Her husband may be handsome and wealthy, but Lexi does not feel a connection with him. She may be the boss at work, but in the climb to the top, she has alienated her childhood friends.

While trying to figure out what prompted her to change her life so dramatically, she meets Jon, the lead architect in her husband’s multi-million dollar real-estate firm and he drops a bombshell about her previous life. Lexi is not convinced that Jon is legitimate, but after some digging, and some help from her family and friends, she uncovers the truth.

“Shopaholic” fans will applaud Sophie Kinsella’s new novel. Lexi is a memorable character that will have readers rooting for her throughout. Humor, romance and mystery make this one hard to put down.

Jeana Gockley is the children’s librarian at the Joplin Public Library.