The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s
Published December 12th 2016 by Penguin
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
* Received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much! This doesn’t affect the review in any way. My opinions are, as always, my own.*
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.
I’m not sure how I feel about this book… For one side I think it’s an extremely interesting idea, that was developed in a very realistic way. One the other side, the book turns a bit confusing and repetitive. Obviously, that’s the idea, we are actually able to see the world through Flora’s eyes, but sometimes it annoyed me quite much.
Flora is a 17-year-old girl with anterograde amnesia. For those who are wondering what that is, I’m pretty sure everyone has seen “Finding Nemo” before. Well, anterograde amnesia is what Dory has. You basically don’t have a short-term memory. In Flora’s case, she can remember things from her childhood, until she was 10 years old, due to a tumor. Flora can only remember things for 2-3 hours. And after that, everything vanishes. It’s quite unsettling, and the book represented it gloriously!
Until… She kisses a boy. And the story is basically developing after that. She wants to get more memories. She wants to do everything she can to hold on to that moment. It was sweet, but sometimes a bit too much… Because she has amnesia, and the book represents her POV, we read, and read, and read something over and over. The idea is really good, but in some parts, it made me terribly frustrated.
But I really liked that the book is set in the Arctic and that there’s even a Finnish person in it and polar bears!
The characters are really interesting too. It’s impossible not to like Flora… she is adorable, wild and strong. She is a bit like a child in terms of trusting and talking, which is normal because time kinda stopped after she was 10 years old. But that only adds to her character. She is stronger than she thinks, and she goes for what she really wants, without any fear, and remembering to always write what’s happening. Sometimes she gets frustrated, but she doesn’t quite. How many persons not suffering from amnesia do that?
We also read about a lot of persons in this book. Some that are amazing, some that are utter idiots. I really liked that the author decided to show both sides. Because I believe that a lot of persons would feel compassion towards a person like Flora, but there are some people that would also take advantage of her. And there were a lot of characters that I really enjoyed reading about! Like her brother, Paige, Agi, …
I was quite expecting the end… I feel that every book I read, with mental illnesses, has, unfortunately, the same type of end. But some parts of it still surprised me, and they are really pleasant to read.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I had some problem with so many repetitions, although I still found it really interesting and original! I think this is a book, that will go different with everybody so I would recommend reading it.