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

Overall I found this book enthralling to read. I could not stop reading it, and read it in essentially one day.

Did I enjoy it? No, I did not. This review is spoiler free with references to the plot and character development.

I found it hard to read, cringe worthy at times, and I began to dislike the main character because I could not relate to her choices.

Flora Banks has retrograde amnesia, meaning that every few hours she forgets everything: where she is, how old she is and only a minimal idea of who she is. She writes down everything on her hand so she can remind herself of what is happening. But one night she keeps a memory: kissing her best friend’s boyfriend the night before he moves away to Iceland.

She continually remembers this, and I loved how this moment stuck in her mind. As a teenage girl it felt so real that her first kiss – a memory that would also have new sensory and sexual feelings to it – would be something that could stick with her.

However, it’s her behaviour after that that I found hard to read, and hard to relate to.

From this one kiss she makes herself believe she loves Drake, and she doesn’t at all feel guilty that she has kissed her best friend’s boyfriend. This irritated me, just on a loyalty level for her best friend. Paige looks after her, and Flora always remembers that Paige is her best friend, so I found it hard to believe that Flora would not at least feel slightly guilty for how she repays her best friend for years of being looked after.

This kiss with Drake leads to Flora making amazing life decisions, and her amnesia doesn’t hold her back. She lives independently, and learns to look after herself and make friends. I loved watching her find out she has all these skills, and manages to remind herself of this when she forgets everything again.

This book was spectacularly written, and although parts of the book were hard to relate to and enjoy due to Flora’s decisions – I am glad I picked up this book. I will definitely re-read this book, mainly because it is a beautiful coming of age story, and figuring out who she was, without the amnesia was really warming to read.

3/5, maddening and beautiful writing.


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