Monday, 30 January 2017

Review!: The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks is the thrilling story of 17-year-old Flora who has suffered with anterograde amnesia since the age of 10. Unable to make any new memories, Flora has to be reminded each day of her age and situation with the help of her parents. One night, at the party of her best friend, who she has known since her childhood, Flora kisses someone she shouldn't and the next day she can remember it and their whole conversation. Convinced this kiss holds the answer to unlocking her memory for good, she takes meticulous notes (in notebooks, and in pen all over her hands and arms) to remind herself of her memory revelation and ends up figuring out how to get in touch with the boy she kissed, who has left the country for icier climbs. 

I absolutely adored Flora, and her determination to find herself and her memories under the fog of medication her parents keep her under. The truth slowly emerges from a tangle of lies built up to 'protect' her and as things become clearer for Flora they do for the reader too. I've seen some other reviewers struggling with the repetitive nature of the narrative as Flora's memory resets and she has to follow her trail of notes to regain her grasp of her reality, however this was not a problem for me and I actually enjoyed the tension it brought.

The book opens at the close on an arctic icy cold snowy mountainside with Flora alone and feeling angry, although she's not sure why, before the story goes back in time to take us back up to this point, which is an all the more powerful storytelling tool with Flora's lack of a memory. The setting is incredible, if a little farfetched, but if you're on board with this adventure it is a total thrill ride of a story. Oh, and it's out now!

I received a copy of The One Memory of Flora Banks from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review, honest!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Review!: The Power by Naomi Alderman

I read this book in about two days between Christmas and New Year after buying it as a little Christmas present to myself (because self care? Treat yo self?). The Power is set up with opening and closing letters between a male historian/author who is asking for advice and opinions on his book from a female author, the relationship between them subverted to that of a matriarchy with his letters full of "just wondering" and "thank you for taking the time" and her's with more of a "oh that's a fun little idea" patronising language. The story he is working on makes up the bulk of The Power, sandwiched between these letters. Told through four or five points of view and set around our present day, we are taken through the story of a world changing several years in which a power is awoken in women, giving them the ability to very easily hurt and cause pain with their finger tips. The strength of the patriarchal world we are so familiar with is dismantled to make way for a world that would find it very hard to believe itself had ever been anything but a matriarchy. 

The character of Eve, and her rise to prophethood is a particularly powerful storyline, as is Tunde's with his safe place in society slowly becoming more precarious as he travels the world reporting on riots and protests. There are a lot subverted references to sexism, misogyny, and especially rape culture as this electric power women now hold becomes a tool to manipulate and overpower the male population. 

While in some places I found myself becoming really aware of this subversion and found the writing could be a little on the nose or heavy handed, overall I found the story compelling and clever enough for this not to bother me. The inclusion of archaeological artefacts and other records and the framing of a historian seeking approval for his work really worked for me. I really recommend you this book, even just so we can then talk about it.

"It doesn't matter that she shouldn't, that she never would.  
What matters is that she could, if she wanted.  
The power to hurt is a kind of wealth" 

Books I read in December!: Talking As Fast As I Can, The One Memory of Flora Banks, The Power, Paper Girls

Helloooo! Plenty of reviews to come soon as I've already read some really super good books this year. I thought I'd better keep things neat though and sort my December reading wrap up! It was an incredibly busy month full of lots of essay reading and marking for me, but I did manage to read some really good books too. After enjoying the new Gilmore Girls episodes on Netflix I fancied reading Lauren Graham's new book Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between. I listened on audiobook, read by Lauren herself and it was fun to hear lots of behind the scenes stories about a show I like. I also read the wonderful One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, which is a story about a seventeen-year-old with no short term memory. Flora can remember her life up until the age of ten, and has to be reminded each day of her age and situation. I found it super interesting and enthralling. As a Christmas present to myself I got The Power by Naomi Alderman and absolutely devoured it in two days. Finally to squeeze in another read before the end of the year I finally got round to reading the Paper Girls Volume 1 comic which was a really good idea and I definitely need to get Volume 2!