The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

So I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to go on NetGalley for a while.  And I was really good.  I didn’t go on it and I ignored all their emails inviting me to read books and suggesting ones I’d like.  Then at stupid o’clock last Saturday night/Sunday morning when I really should have been in bed I decided enough was enough and I’d go and see what books they had that I might be able to review.

And so my quick five minutes look before bed turned even longer when I requested All The Books.  Several I was turned down for but luckily for me Ebury approved me for a copy of The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman so I could review and blog about it.

If you’re one of the people who sometimes asks me for the name of a really really good book to read don’t bother to read the rest of this just go and buy it right now.  I loved it and read over half of it in one sitting.

The name of your first-born. The face of your lover. Your age. Your address…
What would happen if your memory of these began to fade?
Is it possible to rebuild your life? Raise a family? Fall in love again?
When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold on to the past when her future is slipping through her fingers…?
Original, heartwarming and uplifting, The Memory Book is perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

I must admit that as much as I was really excited to read this I did put off doing so.  I’d had a really stressful day on Monday when I got it and I was so tired.  And amongst all the good things I’d heard about The Memory Book I’d kept hearing that it was a real weepy.  So I figured that wasn’t the day for that book.  It’s definitely a bit of a sad one in places but I found it more bittersweet than really sad.  But then I don’t often cry at books so I’m probably not the best person to advise on whether it’ll make you cry or not.

It did make me smile and in a few places it really really made my laugh out loud. Then I wondered if I was meant to be laughing at that.  Claire has a real gallows humour thing going on in several places in the book which I liked.  It reminded me a bit of my own disability humour but with a darker line to it.

Here’s a quote I liked:

 “I turn and look at the receptionist for one last moment, and I know this is absolutely the right time for me to come out with a witty and stinging one-liner that will make her see I am not a pitiable person and not just a disease.  But nothing comes to mind, which reminds me, only too clearly, that I am both.”

That moment when someone says something and on the spot I need to say something to make them change their mind and see more than my wheelchair is one I know all too well. I don’t find it painful, just really annoying but Claire’s all to obvious pain in this situation comes accross very clearly in the book and makes her and her situation seem all the more real.

Part of me would like to read more about Claire and her family and especially about her daughters Caitlin and Esther (Recently I’ve been writing a lot and struggling to name characters. Esther isn’t a name I’d thought much about but as I was reading this book I was struck by how nice it is. It doesn’t work in what I’m writing though).  There are a few loose ends in the book and that surprised me but at the same time I don’t want to read more about them because The Memory Book was perfect as it is.

Finally I’ve decided that seeing as how I love quotes my book reviews should contain more of them.  This is one that cracked me up.

“And I wish I’d run away with a bra on: there is something far less assertive about running away knowing that your breasts are bobbing up and down and completely out of control, flapping around like a pair of kippers. But there you go.  When you’re forced to break out of prison, you don’t always have time to consider your underwear options.”


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