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Review: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

in a sentence: a suspicious fall down the school stairs leaves naomi with amnesia...which doesn't turn out to be SUCH a bad thing (at first).

naomi wakes up on her way to the hospital with the emo-hottie james, only to discover that she remembers nothing of the past 4 years of her life. she doesn't remember that her parents are divorced, she doesn't remember her best friend Will (who is adorably obsessed with making CD mixes), or her boyfriend Ace (hot jock). she struggles with the confusion of having no recollection of her identity while others are trying to be patient with her along the way with nudges of encouragement. turns out, naomi is just fine not remembering who she is...for now.

there is lots of drama to go around, lots of built in mystery (having no memory and all), and great high school social commentary. it feels a little like shes invisible in that naomi has the opportunity to make herself whoever she wants because she has the freedom to let go of everything she can't remember. with this freedom comes the choice to let go of her frustrations, her regrets...but also the ability to play naive even when she's not.

Zevin does a great job of with the catch 22 of freedom and restraint with having no memory. the relationships naomi forms are confusing, yet understandable with her situation. the relationship with james is especially realistic to me - mainly so because of her explanation of his mental illness. even things she likes or doesn't like are up in the air, and naomi's frustration is palpable.

i really like the premise of the book, though it may seem a bit campy at first. Zevin really develops the plot and hooked me in. the family relationships and those with her friends are what really hold the book together, and what bring the novel full circle in the conclusion.

fave quote: "I wondered if the person who really loves you is the person who knows all your stories, the person who wants to know all your stories" (244)

fix er up: i was slightly irritated with the way things were all neatly wrapped up with naomi and her family...but the ambiguity of her relationship with will was enough to leave it feeling more true to the rest of the book.

title: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
author: Gabrielle Zevin
genre: Drama, Problem Novel

Review: Plainsong by Kent Haruf

in a sentence: life in holt, CO may be simple, but that doesn't mean it's boring.

plainsong is a weaving of 4 intertwined story lines - a pregger teen, 2 boys who are dealing with the complicated and unfortunate circumstances of their parents divorce, the father of the boys, and finally two old farmers. seemingly unrelated stories beautifully connect and combine into the power of relationships and the need for humans to feel and experience love.

reading this book put me at ease - which is weird because almost all the characters are in a state of turmoil in the book. cool how that feels like life, huh? we coast through life doing okay most of the time, but the reality is there is always drama going on between people in our lives or within ourselves beneath the surface. i was really impressed with how haruf was able to weave these stories together in a non-hokey way. i was even more impressed that the ending didn't tie everything up into a neat little package, but rather left it where it was. that being said, i don't feel like i wasted my time reading this book because the journey was very rewarding in itself.

plainsong is simple, but deep. don't mistake the lackluster language and format for boring, because this is anything but. he is great at exploring the intricacies of relationships without the reader even being aware of it - tricky and rewarding.

fave quote: "i tell you, it seems like you get one thing fixed and something else pops up" (175)

fix er' up: okay, i admit it - i crave resolution. i'm glad it wasn't tied up in a neat little package, but i guess i still wanted SOMETHING more at the end...

title: Plainsong
author: Kent Haruf
genre: Fiction, Drama, Realistic