The Memory Thief

Thoughts tmtbyec The Memory Thief by Emily Colin, a Ballantine Books eBook Edition 2012, (Paperback, 432 pages)

FIRST Sentence: “When things go wrong at thirteen thousand feet, they go wrong fast.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A romantic tale about a young wife dealing with the death of her husband who has been lost to an avalanche in Alaska. Told from three viewpoints: the dead guy, his wife and the man who becomes the receptacle for the dead guy’s memories, it’s part paranormal, romance and finding your passion. Did I mention that the dead guy’s best friend is a pivotal character? He is.

What’s GOOD: Let’s just say this first:  not my kind of book. So I admit I was worried that my inner booksnob would nitpick. I don’t claim responsibility for her – I blame my sophomore Honors English teacher. (wow! I can’t remember her name!  and she lived on my street. It’ll come to me. Mom knows her name and will remind me (if she reads this post…) There it is:  Sargent Sullivan. She was the kind of teacher you were scared of and really disliked until the end of the year when you realize how much you really learned (that you survived!))

I did have to look up a few words*. I do love to learn new words and reinforce my knowledge of words I *should* know.

I thought the concept unique and it is not badly written. The plot pacing is fine. I was worried that it was going in a direction I really didn’t want to go and truly wanted to find out how all matters would be drawn together and resolved. I wasn’t too nitpicky about the paranormal stuff being realistic or not; I was nitpicky about little things. Things I would not notice at all if it was a book I was really into. So let’s blame any bad review on me – not the author nor the book itself. Actually, it had some big things to grumble about, too.

What’s NOT so good: Want to see all my quibbles?  I wish we could print or cut/paste from the Kindle Notes & Marks tracking. *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

Oh, let’s not. Let’s just say this isn’t my type of book. (While reading this one, I was also listening to Tim Robbins read to me from The Great Gatsby.)

Ok, just ONE. In the scene after the funeral, J.C. takes out the trash after cleaning up the mess in the kitchen. The next morning after pancakes, Maddie takes out the trash. Surely, making pancakes wouldn’t create enough trash to require it being taken out. She needed a bigger kitchen trash can. Nitpicking, right? 

And for the big things…  It’s just that all the female characters came off as weak or jealous and all the male characters were either strong & capable or just misunderstood & lost. Blech. Books like this make me feel like I am *supposed* to feel one way or another and it rubs me the wrong way. I did get worried that good J.C. was being set up for a big fall but surely NOT! Really, I had to give inner booksnob a few drinks so she would shut up and go off and leave me alone to gush all over F.Scott Fitzgerald on her own time so that I could finish reading. Thankfully, this book ended suitably well that I didn’t have to get upset at the characters and I was particularly happy for Nicholas that he got his memories back and decided to take charge of his life. HEA endings work for me just fine. I liked J.C. better than the dead guy anyway.

RATING: Three slices of Philosopher’s Pie with a local IPA. (mentioned about 20% in; they have dinner at a place called the Mellow Mushroom; they serve pizzas with funky name and have an impressive selection of microbrews. I’ve never been there but if I ever am, it sounds like my kind of place…)

* copacetic, ennui (I always have to look this one up and yet I know it well), cataclysm (I’m quite familiar with the adjective cataclysmic but not so much when in its noun base form), pétanque, palaver, seracs, acrophobic

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19 thoughts on “The Memory Thief

  1. Ruthiella

    I also find that when I don’t really care for a book, I start to see all its flaws and inconstancies and maybe even actively seek them out so I can snort and roll my eyes (Swamplandia! would be the most recent example). But when I love book, that sort of stuff just flies past my consciousness and I readily excuse it!

  2. Hmmm. It sounds like the best thing about this book is the tip about the Mellow Mushroom restaurant. You should have read Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel instead for a novel about a young woman dealing with grief. (I have not given up on trying to get everyone I know to read this book.)

    1. Oh really. Ok, I will go add it to my tbr and maybe even sug it to book club as the next choice. (I have the next choice and it is AGONIZING to to decide WHAT?! WHAT?!?!) 😀

  3. Your little conversation in the middle of the post about remember the name just cracked me up. And maybe they made 120 pancakes instead of a regular batch. That might generate trash.

  4. Not my usual fare either, but hey you finished it.
    I too had a hardcore Sophomore Honor English teacher…loved her but can’t remember her name without checking a year book. instilled a love of classics in me.

  5. Literary Feline

    I seem to be forgetting names right and left lately . . . I am getting too old for my own good. Or maybe it’s the lack of sleep. Probably both.

    I am sorry this one wasn’t better for you, although your review was quite entertaining! It kind of reminds me of a movie. Except for the paranormal part.

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