Thursday, July 8, 2010

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and Audio Books

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
Gabrielle Zevin
Audio book by Listening Library, 2007
Print by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007
Realistic fiction

I haven't "read" an audio book in quite sometime. The last one I attempted to listen to was The Chronicles of Narnia and I just couldn't get into it for some reason, maybe it was the narrator, I don't know. Whatever the reason I basically swore off audio books for the past several years. But a few months ago a friend of mine mentioned that she just started listening to audio books in the car (she has a rather long commute everyday), so I decided to give it a try. I don't have a particularly long commute, but I do have a 15 minute walk and then a 30 light-rail ride. It gets a bit tricky to read and walk at the same time and the train is usually pretty packed, which also makes reading a bit difficult.

So I went to the library and picked up Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. Being able to listen to a book while walking and not have to worry about walking into things or people is most excellent. I'm hooked on audio books and have a couple more on reserve at the library.

As for the particular book I choose, it was excellent. The storyline was interesting, the characters were realistic, and the narrator was excellent.

If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn't have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn't have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn't have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She'd know about her mom's new family. She'd know about her dad's fiancĂ©e. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn't have wanted to kiss him back.

But Naomi picked heads.
From Gabrielle Zevin's website

I was a bit worried about this book; the premise is interesting, but could easily become to predictable. But Zevin doesn't let that happen. Naomi is an interesting character, not just because of her amnesia, but because Zevin gives her a personality beyond her health condition. You can easily relate to her. Even though she can't remember anything she still has to deal with the same issues all teenagers have to: figuring out who their friends are, who they really like, dealing with family problems, and figuring out who they really are.

The best part of the book: Naomi doesn't just spend all her time trying to be who she was before - the person she can't remember - she decides to just be whoever it is she feels she is inside. She gets a chance to start over in many ways, which I think is something many teenagers - and many adults for that matter - wish they could do. Become a different person, who you feel is more true to what you feel inside.

I'm making this book sound sappy, but it's not. Naomi doesn't just become this wonderful person overnight. She issues and fights with her parents and her friends, and has an extremely difficult time keeping it together and getting through everything. Naomi is realistic.

Add to the top of your to-read pile

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