Saturday, April 26, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac- Gabrielle Zevin

If only Naomi had picked tails.

Oh-no. Wait. If only Naomi had allowed her partner in coin toss to pick heads. If only she had allowed Will to stick with heads, she would remember the last four years of her life. But Naomi picked heads, and that is what lands her in an ambulence with a mysterious boy named James, who tells Naomi that he wants to kiss her, but doesn't. He also tells the EMTs that he is her boyfriend, but unfortunately, he is not. Her real boyfriend, Ace, is one of the many things that have been wiped from Naomi's mind. One of the more fortunate things, because that boy is certainly nothing special. This is the story of Naomi, teenage amnesiac.

For six months, Naomi is catapulted into a world of classes she can't understand, a best friend who calls her by a questionable nickname, a family that has fallen into irreparable damage, classmates who hate her for reasons she could never comprehend, nad the tortured, utterly screwed-up and undeniably beautiful James, with whom she begins a remarkable but painful romance.

Gabrielle Zevin writes an original, stunning novel. It's humor is bittersweet, every joke laced with poignancy. It's a sad book, which I wouldn't have expected had I not read Zevin's debut novel, Elsewhere. The characters in Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac are real and beautiful, flawed and human. Naomi's voice rings true and strong; she's somehow relatable despite her incredible situation. After all, who among us can say that they've never wondered how their life ended up the way it is, or hated the person that they've become? This book is a quick and rewarding read, funny in parts but also heartbreaking- (James's "Forget Me" postcard brought me to tears.)

The story reminds us of family: and that even though mistakes can shatter a relationship, there's always duck tape around somewhere. It also shows that the people who we love can torture us, intentionally or not, and sometimes the most intense relationship isn't always the one that is best for our general sanity. Above all, Naomi's is a love story- and not necessarily with the obvious candidate.

Zevin's wonderful storytelling masterpiece reads like a personal mix CD, compiled by the person who knows each of us the best. Which, as Will would tell us, is no easy feat.

Five cups of coffee for this one; just don't spill them down any staircases!


Heather♥ said...

this was a great review, but I'm thinking you made the picture so HUGE to cover up the fact that it's not QUITE (see, I'm making it a big word...=D) as long as the rest of your reviews. Am I right? Or did you just not realize how ENORMOUS it was?

ambeen said...

I keep hearing such good things about this book. Maybe I should move it up on my wishlist a bit.

Dr. Gerald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hillary said...

I have this book. I still haven't read it though. My sister really liked it.

BooksandLove said...

this one is on my reading list. Hopefully I'll have more time to read after finals are over.

Hope. said...

I loved this book! I actually ended up reading it all in one night after promising myself that I would actually go to bed at a DECENT time, lol. Great review. [:


Rachel said...

I read this book too. I really really enjoyed it. I thought it was really well written.

Nice review ;)