Review: John O’Farrell – The Man Who Forgot His Wife

photoWhen I decided to read this book, I thought it was going to be quite a serious book about the effects of memory loss, but it was anything but serious.

Vaughan finds himself on a tube with no idea who he is, where he is or what he is doing there. He’s experienced a ‘fugue’; he has lost every personal memory that he had, although he can still remember general facts about world history etc (which is pretty useful since he finds out he is a history teacher). He ends up in hospital next to a rather annoying man who is insistent that he can help Vaughan recover his memory. He’s reading through a list of names to see if any of them can jog Vaughan’s memory (which Vaughan thinks is rather stupid), when all of a sudden something clicks. He remembers the name of one of his friends.

After he is released from the hospital to go stay with his friend Gary, he realises that not only does he not remember that he had a wife, but he is actually supposed to be divorcing her in 3 days time. The book is a story of him trying to win her back now that he is no longer the same person that he was before. Obviously, just because he can’t remember all the terrible things he did, doesn’t mean that his soon-to-be ex-wife Maddy has forgotten too, so his attempts at wooing her don’t go too well.

I won’t say too much about where the story goes from here because I don’t really want to spoil the ending, but it does involve: hiding in a bush and taking a hedge trimmer on the tube, a freezing cold dip in the atlantic ocean and a rather unconventional appearance in the divorce court.

I won’t give this book 5/5 because it’s probably not one that I would read again, but it’s a definite 4.


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