Emily Barr – The One Memory of Flora Banks

I think the biggest mistake I made when reading this book was not actually reading it. I decided to listen to it as an audio book, but I’m not sure it really worked for me.

The main character is called (unsurprisingly) Flora Banks, and (also unsurprisingly) she has memory problems, namely anterograde amnesia. This means that she can’t form new memories. Every half an hour or so her memories reset and she can’t remember anything since she was a child. The only clues she has are the ones she leaves for herself, notes in her notebook, post it notes, and mainly messages scrawled on her arm – the main of which simply says ‘Flora, be brave’.

My main problem with this as an audiobook is that due to Flora’s problems, there are a lot of repeated parts of the book when her memories reset and she discovers herself again. Normally if I was reading, I’d start to skim- read these after a while, but with the audio book I had no choice but to listen to them. It also didn’t help that the narrator had a really slow speaking voice, I had to listen at 1.5 speed to keep the pace going.

Problems with the format of the book aside, I actually found the story captivating. As instructed by her arm, Flora was a very brave girl, conquering things that even I would be scared of. Sometimes foolhardy and slightly lovey-soppy, but mainly due to her condition, she was a very likeable character.

We start the book with Flora remembering something for the first time in years. This has never happened to her before and it starts her off on a crazy chase across the world to find the boy who sparked it all.

But as she goes on this grand adventure, the story around her amnesia seems to be unravelling, it’s  just that as a reader you’re not quite sure what to trust and I was kept on tenterhooks to the very end – I’d definitely never have guessed what was coming.

I did feel slightly disappointed by the very end, I was expecting something a bit more, I’m not exactly sure what, but it didn’t seem quite finished off to me.

I think I’d like to actually read this book at some point to see if the experience is different, but I’m still giving this 4 out of 5 since I was so hooked!

My rating: 4/5Average rating: 3.54
311 pages. Published in: 2016
Read in Paperbackon 1st-28th January 2018

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