Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dual Review: Memoirs & Love Letters

When I first finished Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, I put it on my favourites shelf. But since, I've taken it off simply because this novel reminded me of Love Letters to the Dead, which I also gave 5 stars but does not sit on my favourites shelf. So now, I'm trying to figure out if I loved one more or if I loved them equally, and whether or not they belong on my favourites shelf.
The consensus is that I loved them both and they really reminded me of each other. Their plots aren't exactly the same - I mean, our main character of Memoirs, Naomi, is a couple years older than the main character of Love Letters, Laurel. Naomi seems to be more mature, and I don't exactly remember if Zevin mentioned Naomi's age but she seemed a little less naive to me. Anyways, the two books reminded me of each other because both characters are trying to find themselves after losing something important.


In Naomi's case, she's lost her memory. The last thing she can remember is the trip she took with her parents in the summer of when she was twelve. Four years of her life are lost; memories that include important world and personal events. I'm not going to reveal those because I personally went into this book based off one recommendation and the back of the book, and I liked that everything was a surprise to me, so I'm not going to "spoil" you.
I loved this book because while it was a "typical YA book" in that Naomi is a young girl trying to find herself, it was then unique because Zevin expressed this journey through memory loss. Naomi finds that she has no clue who her past self was. Now, she finds her self confused as to who she was before the accident and attempts to remake herself. Something I learned through this novel is that if I find something about myself that I don't like, I don't need to lose four years of my past an re-invent myself, I can just fix it.
I'm not sure how to put this without spoiling you, but eventually Naomi is able to put her past self aside in order to move on with her life.

In Laurel's case, she's lost her older sister. I sort of adored this book because of the sister relationship. I've read many books where the older sister is constantly watching her younger sister and trying to protect her - but as a younger sister, I've always wanted to read from a younger sister's point of view and the way we are protective of our older sisters. Love Letters to the Dead illustrated exactly this. Although I found Laurel a little immature since I am three years older than her and past the point of trying to find myself, I still found her role as a younger sister very relatable.
Laurel is going through a pretty hard time since her sister died, and although the book eventually reveals how she died, it remains a mystery throughout most of the book. The only thing that's really hinted is that Laurel feels like her sister's death is her fault. Through letters to famous people who died young and tragically, we watch Laurel try to find herself after her sister's death. An older sister is like a guiding light - someone who tells you what you should do before you get there - and I can't imagine what it would be like to lose that. Actually, I can imagine being very lost and confused about where to go from there; exactly the way Laurel reacts.
Eventually, like Naomi, Laurel finds her way past the tragedy and finds her true self in the process. I think the two would get a long pretty well.

I still haven't decided whether or not they belong on my favourites shelf, but if one day I decide to re-read them, I suppose I'll decide then. All in all, you should read both of them because I loved and learned something from both.

Find them on Goodreads:
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
Love Letters to the Dead

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