The Memory Book is a book Sammie McCoy is typing to her future self to help her remember – because she has a rare genetic disease that will slowly cause her to lose her memories and herself. She is trying to preserve everything inside of her Memory Book – from graduating high school to her first kiss.
Title: The Memory Book
Author: Lara Avery
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Going into this story, I knew full well it wouldn’t have a happy ending – Neimann-Pick Type C, or NPC, is a fatal disease that slowly affects your memory and then your body. I can’t say I’ve heard of this disease before, but at the beginning, it is similar to dementia. Dementia is very sad syndrome that affects too many people in this world and while it came be treated, cannot be cured.
Sammie starts out like any other girl about to graduate high school – excited, working hard, and while she doesn’t have many friends, she is set to graduate top of her class as valedictorian. She will fight to keep that status up, despite a disease slowly eating away at her mind.
I loved seeing Sammie’s personality shine through. She loves being on the debate team. She loves her family – her parents and younger siblings are all very supportive and very much in her life. She is relatable! It’s all told from her point of view, so sometimes its hard to judge how long has passed between one entry and another. It’s clear it isn’t over just a few weeks, I feel like this takes place in the span of about one year.
This story overall has a very bittersweet feeling to it. Sammie is doing ok! And then suddenly she’s not, and she can’t even tell you that because she doesn’t know it’s happening to her. You can tell when she isn’t doing as well based on her writing and grammar. As her health declines, so does her grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Towards the end there are even letters and notes left for future Sammie from her childhood friend Cooper and her family. While this book didn’t make me cry, it did make me feel very sad for the loss of a young life and knowing things like this happen every day in the real world.
Sammie does have a chance at romance when her long time crush returns home. The romance between them felt forced to me and that’s one of the few aspects I didn’t like about this story.
I listened to the majority of this as an audiobook and I loved the narration – I felt like Sammie was reading me her life. The narrator does a great job when Sammie isn’t doing so well, slurring her words or speaking less than perfect. If you’re someone who likes audiobooks, I would recommend this!
Overall I give this story a 3.5/5 – it will stick with me for a while. I can’t forget about what I’ve read and I am glad I read this story. I would recommend it if you’re looking for a heartfelt contemporary about an unusual disease of the mind.