Saturday, February 14, 2009

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, Gabrielle Zevin

I came upon this book after googling Polly Shulman, the author of Enthusiasm. Polly reviewed it for the New York Times and I thought since I liked her book so much I’d trust her judgment. Trusting her judgment turned out to be a good thing. I really liked this book but not as much as Enthusiasm.

I think that this book had a much more interesting premise than Enthusiasm: a teenage girl loses all her memories from the past 4 years. Her most current memories are of 6th grade so she has no idea that her parents have gotten a divorce due to her mother’s affair, that her dad is engaged to a woman who she hated (pre-amnesia), that her mom is remarried to the “other man” and has a 3 year old, and that she has a boyfriend she can’t remember meeting, etc, etc. In execution it’s not quite as intriguing. It’s an enjoyable but essentially forgettable book. The funniest moment happens in the first chapter:

“I knew I was adopted even before I knew what that truly meant. Understanding adoption requires a basic understanding of sex, something I would not have until third grade when Gina Papadakis brought her grandparents’ disturbingly dog-eared copy of The Joy of Sex to school. She passed it around at lunch and while most everyone else was gagging with the realization that their parents had done that to make them, I felt perfectly fine, even a little smug. I might be adopted, but at least my parents hadn’t degraded themselves like that for my sake.” pg.8

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