Friday, March 16, 2018

MG Memory Novel Unexpectedly Unsettling and Thought-Provoking

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Irritated with their parents, who can't even visit the county fair without making a scene, Benji and Kelly Lewis sneak off to explore the event by themselves.  When bullies drive the twins apart, 12-year-old Benji takes refuge inside a circus tent at the edge of the fairgrounds.  A sign identifies it as The Memory Emporium, a place where memories are bought and sold.  The proprietor, a strange old man named Louis, offers Benji a taste of his wares.  Benji's awestruck by the experience, which plants him in a vivid, exhilarating memory of parachuting out of a WWII fighter plane.  In exchange, all he has to give up is a tiny, inconsequential memory of his own.

The more Benji thinks about The Memory Emporium, the more he realizes that Louis holds the key to solving the problem of his parents' impending divorce.  When Benji begs the old man to teach him to be a memory thief, Benji receives just enough instruction to start messing with people's memories.  And to create a giant mess for himself and everyone he loves.  Can he fix what he's done before his mistakes become permanent?  Or will he be stuck forever with a family that doesn't remember him?
I'm not gonna lie.  

Despite its intriguing premise, I didn't hold out a lot of hope for The Memory Thief by Bryce Moore.  I was pleasantly surprised, then, to discover that it's an atmospheric, imaginative novel that's unexpectedly thought-provoking.  Yes, the story has a lot more potential than its execution indicates, but overall, it tells an intriguing tale.  The characters aren't anything special, the prose is more tell-y than show-y, and I didn't feel a lot of emotion between the characters.  Still, I ended up liking this unsettling little tale about the importance of remembering—and learning from—everything that happens to us, both the good and the bad.      

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of The Knowing series [The Forgetting; The Knowing] by Sharon Cameron)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Memory Thief from the generous folks at Adaptive Books.  Thank you!

4 comments:

  1. And it didn’t feel too preachy? Cause if is, I could get behind this one.

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    Replies
    1. No, it didn't feel preachy at all. It made its point without feeling blatant or didactic.

      Delete
  2. It seems to enticing to get rid of certain memories, but I agree that we learn from all of them and getting rid of some might be dangerous.

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    Replies
    1. That's the book's point almost exactly. The concept is really very fascinating and something interesting to think about. I wasn't expecting this novel to be so thought-provoking, but it really was!

      Delete

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