Thursday, June 15, 2017

The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Release Date -  May 2, 2017
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  304 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the 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.
I didn't know quite what to expect going into Emily Barr's novel. I knew it featured a girl with memory loss and not much else. The One Memory Of Flora Banks ended up being a sometimes heartbreaking, often uplifting, thought provoking read that boasts a heroine at its heart whose strength isn't measured in physicality but rather her belief in herself and what she can do.

This is a hard book to review because so much of what makes up this story would be a spoiler. It is the nature of how the story reveals itself. We know as much as Flora does and knowing any more would spoil the story and the journey. It is the type of novel that needs to be experienced along with the character, and this makes it a difficult novel to talk about.

The writing in this one is, at times, repetitive. We're in Flora's head and she constantly needs to remind herself of even the littlest things about herself and her life. This is handled incredibly well by the author and is used to great impact. You immediately feel something for Flora. You are sympathetic to her situation, and often in awe of how she handles things. The writing gives you a glimpse into not just what she is going through, but who she is as a person. It makes her voice resonate for the reader and makes her character really the driving force of the story. This is Flora's journey entirely, and the writing ensures this remains true throughout.

Flora clings to the memory of her first kiss like it is saving her from drowning. It provides her with strength and hope. Her single minded focus on Drake as someone who can fix or heal her is both frustrating and understandable. It is frustrating as she is so focused on a boy to the point of recklessness. It, however, is understandable if you look at it through Flora's perspective. She sees Drake as the catalyst for her memory coming back. She sees him as someone who broke through her medical condition and caused her to remember. That would seem very romantic to a lot of people. It may make them assign a deeper significance to the memory and the person than one would normally. Plus, I remember having all consuming crushes as a teenager, so parts of that rang true for me as well.

The truth that is ultimately revealed about Flora, the reason behind her memory loss was, for me, completely unexpected. I expected a different story going in but was pleasantly surprised with the story I ended up getting. It is less dark than I imagine it being, and more heartfelt. The story is still, at times, heart breaking but this is main message is one of survival and strength.

The One Memory Of Flora Banks is a fast paced read that makes the most of its unreliable narrator. If you love stories about girls going on adventures that are filled with the promise of the unexpected and the possibility of danger, I would recommend giving this one a try. Its story packs a surprising punch and you'll be left a little in awe of the tenacity and resourcefulness of Flora Banks' determination and spirit.

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