The One Memory of Flora Banks Review

Saturday, 12 August 2017

By Emily Barr
Rating: 5/5
Source: W H Smith Bundle 

How do you know who to trust when you can't even trust yourself? 
Flora has amnesia. She can't remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is. 
Then she kisses someone she shouldn't - and the next day she remembers it. 
It's the first time she's remembered anything since she was ten. 
But the boy is gone. 
I look at my hands. One of them says 
FLORA be brave. 

I've had a copy of this book in my hands since it was published because I won it in a competition, but it was one of those reads that I put on my book shelf, fully intending on picking it up, and it just ended up being forgotten about, ironically. Myself and the lovely Zoe (nosaferplace) had actually decided to read this for our readathons and a week later it was announced as being a part of the Zoella Book Club, so this was the second book in the book club that I read. 

This was a tough book for me to get into. Not because it didn't have a strong start, I actually think the whole book was a whirlwind of emotion and a really interesting story about amnesia. 

The book was written from the POV of someone who couldn't remember things, there was lots of repetition as Flora tried to remember things, only for them to be forgotten and the process to start again a short while later. While I think this was really effective in showing what it's like to not be able to retain your short term memory, I couldn't get into it for the longest time. Once I felt a connection with Flora and the empathy kicked in then I was completely lost in the book. 

Flora had a brain tumour when she was a child and the result of having it removed is that she cannot retain short term memories, until she kisses a boy and she can suddenly remember things. It did irk me a little that this was the one memory she could retain, maybe that's just the single girl in me talking because I've had stubbed toes more memorable than exes. Flora runs off to the arctic, where said boy has moved to, to try and find the love of her life -or that guy she kissed one time. 

While running around lost in the arctic, Flora meets some helpful individuals who get her through being alone and confused, even though she seems to be doing okay for the most part. She even gets to experience seeing polar bears, a lot of her sightseeing was really bittersweet because even though she won't remember it, it was things she never would have experienced if she hadn't snuck away from home.

Being an amnesiac, Flora can't be considered a reliable source of information, Emily plays on this with the twists and turns of this book. Without wanting to give away too much plot, Flora is lead to believe that what she thinks she remembers is false, and as the reader you start to believe it yourself even though we were there. This happens a lot to me when I'm reading novels like this, I believe the path the other characters are leading me down, even if that means abandoning the main protagonist, sorry Flora.

There's a whole load of other emotions surrounding the characters in this book, Flora's best friend, the best friends boyfriend, Flora's own parents; no one seems to be telling her the truth, and now Flora doesn't believe that anything she knows to be true. Prepare yourself for Flora's brother too, his letters to Flora made me cry to much that it's embarrassing. This a heart wrenching story and the ending was so much more empowering, you won't be disappointed. 

I would recommend this book to fans of YA, I can't speak for those of you who are affected by amnesia in your family, because I don't know what the disease is like in the real world I cannot comment on the authenticity -but the emotion seemed really genuine to me at least.

Thanks for reading!

1 comment

  1. "stubbed toes more memorable" LOVED this. Great review!


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