Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Philomel Books (Penguin)
Time taken to read: 3 days
Goodreads synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life. With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway—the land of the midnight sun—determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the Arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
This book is a little repetitive. Okay, it’s a lot repetitive, but it only bugged me for a little while. Flora can’t remember anything after she was ten, so she has to reread her notes over and over to remind herself what’s going on in her life. And I found that extremely irritating at first, but I guess I got used to it. At the start of this book, I rolled my eyes so hard they almost came out of my head. I mean, really? A boy cures her amnesia? Too ridiculous. But (spoiler), when it turns out her amnesia was starting to get better anyway, I decided to accept it. I don’t want to include too many spoilers in this review because this book is still fairly new. What I will say is that I never saw a single plot twist coming. The last fourth of the book shocked me over and over again and I loved it. And it leaves off at a great spot, letting the reader imagine their own ending for sweet Flora.
I absolutely adored Flora’s voice. It’s one of the best voices I’ve ever read. She’s got a ten-year-old mind in a seventeen-year-old’s body, just coming to the realization that she’s seventeen. And her childlike tone is so precious. She does a lot of crazy things that she just doesn’t understand, and she has to wake up in her craziness over and over again.
I guess one little thing that really bothered me was the fact that the father didn’t really want her on her medication but went along with it. I kind of felt like, oh, of course the father is the one who’s on their side and the mother is the one who’s crazy and evil. I think mothers are often painted in an extremely negative way in comparison to fathers, and that’s something that I think is rooted in sexism, and it bothers me. Let’s have some nice mothers in literature, people.
And finally, RIP in peace sweet Jacob.
I loved this one, guys. Highly recommend.