This book is about a young female called Flora, who has anterograde amnesia. This condition affects her everyday life, as she is required to use her memory for most things. One day she has intimate contact with a boy, on the beach and suddenly it changes her life. She remembers something and this excites her. Can you imagine what it must be like to not be able to use your short term memory and one day out of nowhere, one event just sticks?
Well, according to improvememory.org – Anterograde Amnesia is “often a permanent condition generally thought to be caused by damage to the hippocampus section of the brain. This damage can be caused by an accident, as a result of surgery, alcohol, and even an acute deficiency of thiamine known as Korsakoff’s syndrome. Whatever the cause of the trauma, the person who is affected is unable to convert their short term experiences into long-term memory”. This is reflected in the book, by Flora constantly writing down notes. Also, her parents constantly remind her of who she is. They leave letters and information around the house, in order to keep her memory activated.
She decides to embark on a journey to France, to find the guy who helped her jog her memory. She decides not to inform her parents, by telling them a white lie ( the lie is she’s going with her friend Paige, when she’s traveling solo) because they wouldn’t approve of her new-found independence. They believe she only accustom to her familiar settings, so they are apprehensive about how she will handle the outside world.
Her trip to France is definitely an experience, as her mind was opened to many different revelations about herself and overcoming obstacles she faced during the time. She meets people on her way, who assist to get to her chosen destination. In the end, she finds Drake (the boy she kissed) and they have a discussion about the night they shared on the beach. However, there is a plot twist, Drake denies the event and leaves Flora in confused manner. Also, her parents find out about her secret adventure and immediately wish she would return home. As well as, having different accounts of information coming in from various people and direction, which causes a mental overloaded sensation for her.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, because you got to see what it was like to live with anterograde amnesia. It showed how the condition affects a person, those who they interact with and surrounded by. It also focusses on how her parents are able to cope managing her, even though they have to attend to her older brother Jacob, who has problems of his own. So, it must of felt good for Flora, to remember something, bearing in the mind the majority of the time, her mind is completely blank. You can see how it made a significant impact on her life.
Similarly, it must be like sitting in a dark room for hours, then a ray of sunlight hits you; it feels good, because the sun is blessing your skin. Another great way this book explains her condition, is by including the parts she regurgitates notes back to herself to remind her of who is she and what she’s doing. You get a snippet into how she analyses and re-centers herself, so she can proceed with her tasks. I think it was very brave of her to branch out and explore the world on her own. She took a risk, without her medication, knowing the implications it may cause but went for it anyways. That is true determination on her behalf!
The book is available at WHSmith for £7.99. Also the ebook and audio version is available too 🙂