The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

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This book had a very intriguing description, and I couldn’t wait to start reading it. This book centres around Flora. She had a brain tumour removed at the age of ten, and it stopped her ability to make new memories after this age. She lives at home, and she only remembers information for a couple of hours and then it is gone, and she has to remember what, who and where she is. But she writes notes to herself on her arms and has a book created by her mother to remind her what happened.

 

I was fascinated with how Emily Barr would be able to write a novel from the perspective of someone with amnesia. I was worried that it was going to be annoying rereading the same information each time Flora had to relearn what happened. But actually, Flora was one of the most compelling characters that I’ve ever read. It is remarkable how adaptable the brain can be; it doesn’t take Flora long to grip the facts of her life and recover from the shock that she is not ten years old but 17 years old. It was fascinating to read. Especially as we get to see that Flora’s personality is not dictated by what happened to her. She isn’t limited by the fact she has to relearn information every couple of hours, she adapts, and then we get to watch her unique voice assess and analyse her surroundings.

 

I really loved getting to know Flora and the mystery of her parents added another layer of fascination. When she is left alone because her parents need to visit her brother, we begin to see that Flora’s surroundings have been meticulously shaped by her overprotective mother. Flora’s intelligence is revealed as she begins to not only figure out that her parents are not telling her the truth, she finds resourceful ways to remind herself of this.

 

The main part of the story is about Flora’s love of Drake. Her amnesia warps her mind, and her teenage crush begins to dominate her life and memory. In fact, the one kiss they share she doesn’t forget as she should. This leads her on a voyage to Antartica and Flora’s resourcefulness, bravery and intelligence shine like a beacon. It was stunning to watch Flora shine without her Mother’s restrictive influence dulling her personality. The people that Flora meets on this journey, she takes were lovely, and I love the village life that Emily Barr has created. But everything in this book is dwarfed by Flora’s character. She is the life and soul of this book, and it was stunning to read.