The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (eArc Review)

tomofb

Publisher: Penguin
Page Count
: 311

**I was provided with an eArc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!**

When I first heard about the book, I thought it sounded promising – mysterious even! I had never read a novel from the point of view of an amnesiac, so that was another thing that drew me towards wanting to read this particular story. However, Flora and I, we have a difficult relationship. But let’s start from the beginning!

Flora hasn’t been able to form new memories since she was 10 years old. She remembers people she met before that, but can’t hold on to anything new for more than a couple of hours. Now she is 17. Enter Drake! I did not like the guy. Right from the beginning there was something really sketchy about him. He was Paige’s, Flora’s best friend’s, boyfriend, yet on the day of his farewell party he kissed Flora and something miraculous happened – she remembered the whole encounter. Why do I think that’s wrong? Aside from the obvious reason that he was Flora’s best friend’s boyfriend, he also kissed a girl, who at that point, was mentally at the maturity level of a 10 year old. I get that she was in the body of a 17 year-old, but it still seemed off to me. Even though he leaves the next day, Flora begins obsessing about him and how he might be able to cure her. It all goes so far that she chases after him, by herself (!!!), to the arctic circle.

I am not going to go into detail on what happens in the story, because there are a couple of twists that would be a shame to spoil. Instead I want to talk more about Flora and her way of telling the story. First, I was not prepared for the level of repetitiveness. Of course I expected some of it, but I hoped for a bit more nuance, instead of the same phrases becoming a mantra that repeated itself every couple of pages. I very much recognise and respect that this is probably a very authentic portrayal of amnesia, however, I am afraid it did not add to the enjoyment of my reading experience. At some point I just skimmed paragraphs, simply because I had read the same sentence three times before.

Flora was such a fun and quirky character. As I said before she often felt pretty young, which made sense, and the next second she goes and books a flight and hotel for the Arctic. That’s pretty adult right there. Everyone in her life, be it strangers or family, was so understanding and willing to help. I don’t feel like that’s the most realistic portrayal, because even though it’s super nice of them, no one ever got impatient or frustrated with her, which is a miracle in my opinion. Her condition was often treated so lightly and the conclusion of the story was not something I entirely agreed with. I do believe that Flora is brave and unique and should get to make her own decisions and do the exciting things in life, but I don’t think she should be entirely unsupervised because she literally couldn’t remember where/why/when she was most of the time.

Lastly, I just want to say that I appreciate the portrayal of amnesia, seen as it is something that’s rarely done. I am sure many, many people will enjoy this book and Flora’s quirky character, I just didn’t happen to be one of them.

Fazit: 2.5/5 stars! Unfortunately it was not really my cup of tea …

3stars

Have you read TOMOFB? Are you going to? Let’s talk about that!