Sunday, September 18, 2011

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

Title: Memento Nora
Author: Angie Smibert
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Release Date: April 1, 2011
Pages: 184 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: from the school library

Memento Nora (Memento Nora, #1)On an otherwise glossy day, a blast goes off and a body thuds to the ground at Nora's feet. There are terrorist attacks in the city all the time, but Nora can't forget.

In Nora's world you don't have to put up with nightmares. Nora goes with her mother to TFC--a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic. There, she can describe her horrible memory and take a pill to erase it so she can go on like nothing ever happened. But at TFC a chance encounter with a mysterious guy changes Nora's life. She doesn't take the pill. And when Nora learns the memory her mother has chosen to forget, she realizes that someone needs to remember.

With newfound friends Micah and Winter, Nora makes a comic book of their memories called Memento. Memento is an instant hit, but it sets off a dangerous chain of events. Will Nora, Micah, and Winter be forced to take the Big Pill that will erase their memories forever?

Angie Smibert's remarkable debut novel takes readers on a thrilling ride through a shadowy world where corporations secretly rule and consumerism is praised above all.


In the future Nora, Micah, and Winter live in, terrorist attacks and car bombs are set off by the Coalition happen every day and people can take little pills so they can forget it ever happened. Nora is supposed to take one after she witnesses a man's death in a bombing, but she spits out her pill and decides that she has to remember. With the help of Micah, an artist, and his sculpture-making friend Winter, they produce a comic book that puts the memories out there so everyone can know. Just as soon as they have started, people want them stopped before they can reveal the biggest secret of all.

This review will be shorter than my normal babbling rants because I'm already starting to forget what went on in the book--and it's not because I went to the TFC and took a pill for it. It's just that forgettable.

Nora, Micah, and Winter were all quite likable and their narrative voices were all unique. I never would have confused one narrator for another when they rotated. The writing was often unclear and the ending was especially unclear, but it's not a terribly difficult story to follow. A special shout-out goes to Nora's mother for being an interesting character when she got her chance to be n the spotlight. My heart really went out to her for what she had to deal with.

Weighing in at only 184 pages, Memento Nora is a book you could finish in just a few hours with the help of a good attention span and some free time. I think the novel could have benefited from being longer so the characters could have more time to be developed and the world could be expanded on. I wanted to know so much more about Winter--you don't see a well-done Japanese-American lesbian main character every day-- and see her develop, but woefully little time was spent with her. Due to the length of the book and the narrative's tendency to be skewed toward Nora, Winter spent very little time narrating.

I think the premise could happen. There are people who would doubtlessly take the pill if it existed, but too many more would refuse because they recognize the importance of remembering the bad. I would. It is acknowledged that there are still people that won't take the pills, like a man that saw the World Trade Centers collapse, but they seem to be a very small minority and the pills aren't mandatory. While the book has the right theme, having most people choose to forget in order to get that theme of how important it is to remember across makes the dystopia of Nora, Micah, and Winter's world unrealistic. However, I suppose their future is sufficiently scary as a dystopia is supposed to be.

The Forgetting Curve, the second book in the series, will be coming out next year and follows Winter's cousin Aiden, but I'm not sure I will read it due to Memento Nora's failure to impress me. I'm kind of sad it didn't excite me more because I've been looking forward to it since I heard about it near the beginning of 2011. Check it out if it interests you.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman