REVIEW: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr


30849412Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: January 2017
Genre: young adult, contemporary, fiction, mental health
Pages: 303
Format: Paperback
Source: Waterstones
Buy the book (Waterstones) | Buy the book (Amazon)

"How do you know who to trust when you can’t eventrust yourself?
I look at my hands.
One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE."
Flora has anterograde 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.  

My rating: 3/5 

As soon as I saw the trailer for this novel, I knew that I had to go and read it, and reading the blurb only cemented this urge. Barr's novel had a really interesting take on amnesia, and this really gave The One Memory of Flora Banks a very 'Memento' kind of feeling, and with Barr's sharp and intelligent writing, it created a compelling read.

The main storyline of The One Memory of Flora Banks follows the life of Flora, a seventeen-year-old who suffers from anterograde amnesia, which means that she does not have the ability to create any short-term memories (are you getting those 'Memento' feels yet?). But when she kisses a boy at a party and remembers it the next day, Flora's life goes from cosy and comfortable in the eyes of her controlling parents to adventurous and daring.

At first, I had really enjoyed the plot of Barr's novel because I wanted to know everything. And I mean everything. Why does Flora have amnesia? How did Flora first cope when she was diagnosed with her condition? How did her family cope? There was so much I needed to know. These questions were answered over the course of the novel, but then more questions arose. But as the plot reached its climax, my love for the story began to weaken. The story started to turn to Flora's obsessive nature about being with this boy, and this started to become annoying in the latter part of the novel. I felt as though Flora thought that this boy could 'cure' her amnesia, and I was so angry at the fact that this cliché was developing. And even though the plot twists generally caught me off guard, I just thought that there were too many events that flat out confused me or annoyed me.

I did enjoy the first person account that Barr's novel was set in, I felt as though it gave me more of an insight into Flora's mind as it allowed me to understand her and how her condition affects her. I found Flora to be a brilliant character, she was possibly one the most likeable characters in The One Memory of Flora Banks. However, I was upset that I didn't get to know the other important characters as much as I would have liked to. I would have liked to know more about her parents and the rest of her family, and even Paige, her best friend. I feel like the other characters were drowned out by the obsession Flora had for this boy, and this was such a huge disappointment in the end.

Although I did love how the book didn't stick to one genre. I thought the way it moved to thriller, then romance, etc, was well-written and Barr did a fantastic job at transitioning between them.

I feel as though I would've enjoyed this book more if some of the other characters were more involved in the plot. Their absence allowed Flora's fixation on this boy to become really obvious and it took over the plot in many areas. My opinion is torn over this novel, in some aspects I really did love it, but in others, I became frustrated and I had to put the book down for a few minutes. But, overall, I am happy with the way it ended, however, I am upset by the fact that I finished this novel with mixed emotions rather than the love I started with.

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