Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published January 3, 2017 by Penguin
Source: the publisher
Rating: 3 stars

From the blurb: Flora has amnesia. She can't remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.
Then she kisses someone she shouldn't - and the next day she remembers it. It's the first time she's remembered anything since she was ten.
But the boy is gone.

The One Memory of Flora Banks is not going to be an easy book to talk about and I think it's best not to read too much about it, in case the plot gets spoilt for you.

Seventeen year old Flora lives with her parents in Cornwall. She has had no short-term memory since the age of ten so she relies on notes written on her hands and arms, as well as a notebook with information in it, written by her mother. When she rereads this, she discovers the cause of her memory loss was the removal of a tumour. She takes medication and will always live with her parents, in their house, in the same town. Sometimes she remembers an older brother, Jacob, but he no longer lives with them. She has one close friend, Paige, they've known each other since they were little.

I spent most of this book feeling confused but intrigued. I felt as though there was something off about Flora's life, especially when it came to her parents. Her situation would be difficult to deal with, she is often confused, disorientated, and scared. Sometimes she's even mad at herself for not being what she considers normal. She often regresses and thinks she's a ten year old girl. Not only was this sad for her, but I also felt for her parents (to a degree) and for Paige, who has stuck by her for years.

I suppose the confusion I felt as a reader, which increased as the story went on, could have been intended to mimic Flora's own confusion as she spends a week alone at home while her parents go to France to see her brother. Flora is a very unreliable narrator, but I was prepared to go along on her journey to see where she'd end up.

Unfortunately the ending was a little underwhelming and I felt as though the story collapsed in on itself. Prior to that the tension and intrigue had been building, but the big reveal fell flat. I also had a lot of questions about just how much Flora would have been able to do, as a girl whose knowledge and memories stopped at age ten.

The One Memory of Flora Banks is a captivating and intriguing story of a girl desperate to prove she can live a life fuller than the one her parents intend for her. Despite the underwhelming twist, the story ends on a hopeful note.

Thank you to Penguin for my copy.

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