Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Review - The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, was an incredibly special book. In fact it was so special that after finishing it I had to take some time out to gather my thoughts before sitting down to write my review of it, hence why the review is coming some three weeks after finishing it. As a book that will stay with me for a long time, this was a truly memorable story and one that was quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I can only hope that within this review I do the book the justice that it so very much deserves. 

As the title correctly suggests this book tells the story of Flora Banks, a 17 year old girl who has had anterograde amnesia since the age of 10 when she had an operation which removed a tumour from her brain. With her amnesia meaning that she is unable to keep memories in her head for longer than a mere couple of hours, one evening after going to a party Flora kisses a boy on a beach, something which she is so desperate not to forget and something that she writes down. Whilst perhaps not the most sensible thing to have done given the repurcussions it has on her friendship with her best friend, we see how that one kiss completely changes Flora’s life as she breaks free from the control of her parents and sets out on the biggest adventure of her life. 

Whilst I struggled to understand exactly what young Flora was going through, I have to say that I thought Flora was an extraordinary lead character. I loved seeing Flora develop and grow as the story progressed and thought that the transformation she went on from being completely dependent on her parents for everything to being so much more independent entirely fascinating, she certainly proved herself to be a brave and fearless character. For me, even though Flora was considerably younger than me, I found Flora’s whole story to be extremely powerful and one which made me feel that little bit more grateful than I already was before starting the book for my health. 

The way that Emily has written this novel is something that I found to be extremely clever although very different to books I’ve read previously. There was a lot of repetition in this book, which I have to say at first somewhat annoyed me until I grew to appreciate why it was there, the fact that it was really giving us a glimpse into Flora’s mind and accurately portraying exactly what she was both thinking and feeling. I loved the effort that Emily had put into her story, creating one that really set the scene for the reader and transported them to a whole new world particularly when the location of Svalbard was introduced to us. 

Whilst this is a book that seems to be being marketed as a YA book, I’d say that it’s actually a book that can be read and appreciated by anyone of any age. With a number of themes being touched on throughout this is a very important book that raises awareness about a condition that perhaps is poorly understood and which people may not have very much understanding of. Having now taken the time to really think about this book and all that it represents, this is a book that more than deserves to be read and given a chance. I’m looking forward to seeing what Emily writes next.