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Review: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

Updated: Jun 27

3/5 stars

Naomi would be your typical high school kid, except that she hit her head and now can't remember the past 4 years of her life. She doesn't remember her best friend, Will, or that she serves as co-chair of the high school yearbook committee with him. She doesn't remember her boyfriend. She doesn't remember the fact that her parents are divorced, and her mother lives in NYC with her husband and new daughter, and they haven't been on speaking terms for years. Once she comes home from the hospital - with assurances from the doctors that she'll probably get her memory back, eventually - it's to a home she doesn't remember having ever seen, with her dad, who is seeing someone new, that she doesn't remember having ever met.

Going back to school presents all the same complications. She sits at lunch with her boyfriend and all of "her friends," and tries to fit in without understanding anything that's going on. Plus, are these people really her friends? The girls all seem superficial and rude, and her boyfriend seems to hate her best friend Will and the fact that she's on yearbook. The only thing they seem to have in common is that they play tennis, but she's not sure she wants to do that anymore. The only person she connects with is someone she never knew in her "old" life - a loner named James, who found her after she fell.

Basically, Naomi has to get to know herself all over again, and, in doing so, realizes there are a lot of things about her former life that she's not very happy with. Her journey of self-discovery takes her through a lot of moments of feeling lost and confused, as she tries on different "skins" to see what fits. In analyzing what works and what doesn't, she's able to find the things that are most important to her.

I think Zevin does a great job of portraying lost teenagers - not just Naomi, but her friends and love interests... how much they struggle to find themselves in the maelstrom of hormones, school work, and parental expectations (and also those moments when you realize your parents aren't perfect). They felt real, including (especially?) when they were unlikable and annoying, as teenagers can sometimes be. But ultimately also sympathetic and understandable.


UP NEXT: Even Though I Knew the End, by C.L. Polk

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