They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.
Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart–a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it’s not the life she planned.
I was drawn to this book because, as many of my readers know, I am a sucker for so-called “sick-lit”. Give me a young adult book that deals with heart-wrenching topics such as terminal illness, mental illness, or grief of some kind or another and I will curl up with my box of tissues ready and waiting for the inevitable emotional roller-coaster that I am embarking upon.
In the caste of THE MEMORY BOOK, Sammie is diagnosed with Niemann-PickC, a disease which will inevitably erase her memories and cause her health to deteriorate. Rather than letting her memories slip away from her forever, Sammie decides to document her life, her stories from the past as well as the present, her likes and dislikes, and information about who she is as a person. She may not be able to stop the memory loss, but it seems she has found a loop hole so that she can still remember who she was even as her memory slips away.
Throughout the book I found myself strongly relating to Sammie’s character. Like Sammie, I have always been a high achiever, I graduated at the top of my class, and I have so many hopes and dreams for the future. Due to this profound feeling of connection to Sammie’s character, I found myself wondering what I would do if I was in her shoes and how I would cope with the loss of both the past as well as a future that I could recall and be present in. While the story is one of great loss and inevitable tragedy, there is an overarching lesson that Sammie can teach readers. That lesson is to live in the moment; all we have is now.
I know this seems like such a cliche message to receive from a book about terminal illness, but it really is such a powerful lesson to learn. I personally find myself worrying about the future so much that I forget to live in the moment and embrace my life as it exists at this very second. I also know that there have been wonderful experiences in my past that I have not been able to fully enjoy because I live so much of my life in the future. But in Sammie’s story, the future is precarious and unknown; all she has is the here and now and she makes a conscious choice to make the most of every single second that she has.
I found THE MEMORY BOOK to be such a heartfelt and truly powerful story about appreciating every single moment for what it is. This book really made me stop and think about my own experiences and the approach that I have to my own life which is something that only happens when I feel a close connection to the character(s). I love a good book that can get my self-reflective mind thinking!
I would absolutely without a doubt recommend this book to anyone who is in the mood for an uplifting and inspiring story about how changing your perspective can change your experience of life. THE MEMORY BOOK will make you stop and think about your own life while simultaneously pulling at your heartstrings. What more could you ask of a great book?
Thanks for reading!
Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone.