Warning - Spoiler Alert: This is definately a book to be experienced so feel free to stop reading now and just go read this book and get your own first impression. No, really, I think that might be best. Smile.
What memories make up your life? How did you become the person you are today? Have you ever wondered about who you are or have you ever wanted to be different? What do you remember about being young?
These questions and more are what 17 year old Jenna Fox is trying to discover and understand about herself as she awakens from a year long comatose state after a horrifying accident. Since she is suffering from amnesia, everything is a different perspective. Her parents seem paranoid by worrying about a lot Jenna has yet to comprehend, her grandmother, Lily seems distant and mysteriously bitter towards her and who were her friends again? Although, Jenna has been told the basics and given DVD's of who and what she was - a dancer, a daughter, a student, a friend etc... It does not make her feel any more complete as a person. More than she even realizes, she desires to feel whole again. So, she aims to truly discover who she is from her memories that she is making from the world she knows now. Yet the old memories creep in and haunt her desire to become different or more real. It's all so confusing!
This book uncovers so much about humanity, courage, identity and friendship in this new world of Jenna's that her parents seem wrapped up in and are part of creating somehow. It didn't feel that it started out dystopian with sci-fi elements but it sure ends up that way which I thought was uniquely clever. I loved how layer by layer - slowly and poetically - it was uncovered and brought to my attention. I had to think and piece together all the details to make sense of it all. All the while, considering each question, questioning each character and their motives and wondering what I really knew at all.
In the end, I question everything. I just love it when books do this!
272 pages, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (April 29, 2008), My rating: 4 stars
Meaning I pulled from the book:
Pg. 21: He laughs again. Why does he do that? He is more curious than I am. "You're a tough critic, Jenna Fox. I create art because I need to. It's just something in me. Like breathing."
How can a pine serpent be in him? Especially one that will not last. "This will be gone by tomorrow."
Pg. 131: I look at my hand curled in my lap, the bandage now covering the secret. The sick feeling of when I first saw it returns. In one moment, one brief glance, reality can flip. Whatever we believe can vanish. Believing in something doesn't really make it so.
Pg. 182: She pulls me close again, my head on her chest. I can hear her heartbeat. Familiar. The sound I heard in her womb. The whoosh, the beat, the flow that punctuated my beginnings in another dark place. I had no words for those sounds then, just feelings. Now I have both. I can remember it as clearly as I remember yesterday.
Pg. 192: There is not much to clean. My room is still sparse. "It is life near the bone where it is the sweetest, " I say to the walls. I amuse myself with my cleverness. I run a cloth over my desk and chair and I am done.
Popular excerpts from Amazon, sorry, I don't know the page #'s:
The dictionary says my identity should be all about being separate or distinct, and yet it feel like it is so wrapped up in others.
Are the details of our lives who we are, or is it owning those details that makes the difference?
How much can you really trust your memories - and if you lose them, can you get them back? Can you get yourself back?
Maybe that is all any life is composed of, trivia that eventually adds up to a person, and maybe I just don't have enough of it yet to be a whole one.
Other ideas about this book:
S. Krishna's books
Inside Looking Out