Friday, June 10, 2011

Books that deal with memory loss

I have a really bad memory. I don't have very clear or very strong memories of my childhood until I was 7 years old and then it's only a few here and there. Without hearing family stories about certain events or without things like photos or other memorabilia, I don't recall a lot of the major things that have happened throughout my younger life.

Memories of funny things that happened whilst hanging out with friends or during high school leave my head quicker than most. Even things that happened on holidays with N or in our early relationship have been given the slip. I rely on N a great deal to remind me of things, to put certain memories in order. I find that when I list things or put memories in chronological order and give them a place, I remember them better. It's partially why I write everything down, why we've taken ten zillion photos of the boys. I don't want to forget things with the boys.

Strangely, I remember things to do with blogging and reading a lot better. It's only in my personal life that I struggle. I often wonder why that is, but try not to dwell on it too much. But I am fascinated with memory. Last year, when my psychology course covered memory, I thought it incredibly interesting. Learning of the different structures of memory, as well as different types of memory. I loved learning of people with incredible memory as well as the effects that memory loss/amnesia plays on the brain and on people.

So I guess it's no surprise really, that I also love reading YA books that deal with memory and in particular, memory loss. Here are a few wonderful books that I've come across recently and enjoyed to do with the subject. If, like me, you find it a fascinating topic then it might be an excellent idea to pick up one or two of these books.

Forgotten by Cat Patrick - Forgotten is one of the most addictive novels I've read in recent times. As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked and couldn't put it down until I'd finished it and knew what had happened.

London Lane has an unusual memory. Instead of remembering things that have already happened, London 'remembers' the future. Able to see flashes of her future but can remember absolutely nothing of the days before. She keeps a notebook in which she jots down things she thinks she will have needed to remember for the next day - clothes she wore, conversations had with friends and family. It's an incredible and original story, one that I will not forget for awhile :)

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin - This is the book that I first thought about when I started thinking about books dealing with memory loss. It's an obvious choice, isn't it?

I read it quite a few years ago and am a little hazy on the details. I remember enjoying it, and that it was a rather fun book. I think what amnesia stories do so well is that they allow the person with amnesia to question their life choices and relationships and go in a different direction if not happy.

Forget You by Jennifer Echols - This is another one of those books that lets characters make different and possibly better-for-them choices about the events in their own lives - in Forget You, these changes mostly focus on one girl's romantic involvements. I think we'd all like a fresh start like that at some point in our lives.

In Forget You, Zoey can't remember anything that happened the previous evening. Not since Doug, who she hates, pulls her out of a car accident. And whilst Zoey's life seems to be disintegrating around her with the many complicated relationships in her life, she did think she could count on her steady boyfriend, Brandon. But it seems something to have happened between her and Brandon. And also, possibly between her and Doug...

Entangled by Cat Clarke - I really love this book. I thought it was an amazing premise and the structure of the novel to be really original and interesting.

Grace wakes up in a mysterious white room having no recollection as to how she got there. With only the company of the strange boy who kidnapped her and a writing desk with pens and paper, Grace sits down to piece together her memories of the events that led her to this strange place.

I loved it, I really did. And in a bizarre coincidence Entangled and Forgotten both feature the same cover model.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson - This might seem like an odd choice for those of you who have read The Adoration of Jenna Fox, but I think it works.

Jenna Fox has awoken from a year long coma and has no recollection of the accident that caused her memory loss or of her life before. Her parents think that by watching home videos of Jenna's childhood, some memories might start to resurface.

But what Jenna begins to remember makes her more curious about what her parents might be hiding and of the things that Jenna doesn't know - about the accident and of the secrets that her family is covering up.

Do you have a favourite book that deals with amnesia/memory loss?


  1. For me it would have to be Cat Clarke's book first followed by Forgotten.
    I think Cat Clarke really hit the nail on the head and Entangled is just one of those books that stays with you.
    Forgotten is such an unusual idea of memory but very clever.
    Personally I have a memory like an elephant. Much to hubby's disgust, I don't forget a thing!

  2. I've read all of these except Forget You and The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Jenna Fox is on my Kibdle though! Of all of these I'd say that Entangled was my favourite. :)

    ComaCalm's Corner

  3. I have a couple of these on my to read list already, think I may be adding the others.

    My recent favourite book about memory loss is S.J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep, I don't think I've read about it in YA though.

  4. I really do love both of those books, Viv. Very different but done really well. I'd love to have a wonderful memory - luckily, N can remember most things for me!

    ComaCalm - Entangled is SUCH a good book, isn't it? :) I hope you like Jenna Fox. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel..

    Jenni - I'm really curious about Before I Go To Sleep after reading your review earlier in the week!

  5. I have a lot of those books on my shelf waiting for me to get to them.

    It was strange reading what you had to say about your memory as I have the same issue. I struggle to remember anything much from my childhood. I do quite often recall things if people remind me, but if I have to think of things myself, I can't. I too have taken lots of photo's of my son and even wrote his birth story down on the personal blog I used to keep (I had it for 5 years and still occasionally go back and read bits of it now).

  6. I have horrible memory too! The only book I've read from that list is Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, which I didn't love, but thought it was interesting the way amnesia was explored. I'm also a Psychology student so we've done some stuff on memory too. It's intriguing! Makes you think how inaccurate most of the stuff you remember must be :P.

  7. TSB - All great books, I hope you enjoy! It's hard having such a poor memory, isn't it? I'm always panicking that I'll forget things.

    Liz - It is a fascinating area to study, memory.

  8. I don't have a great memory either! I haven't read any of the books on th list above, except Entangled, but I only read about half of that. Doesn't Grace remember how she got there? I thought she did. I might be wrong though, I read it a few moths ago so I don't remember it all that well.

  9. Cliona - Grace does remember in the end, how she got there, I just meant that the bulk of her story deals with her scraps of memories trying to piece everything together.


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