Published by Philomel Books on May 2nd, 2017
Genres: Fiction, mystery, Contemporary
Source: the publisher
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Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.
With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When I saw that this is billed as Memento meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime I was hooked. Memento has long been one of my favorite movies and I definitely wanted to read it. Especially because it seems like it would be difficult to write convincingly. I’ve also heard this book compared to 50 First Dates or Before I Go to Sleep. I would say that any one of those comparisons only gives you part of the story.
Flora has a rare form of memory loss. She can’t form new memories. Her memory ends when she was 10 years old. Every day she reminds herself of who she is and what’s happening using post-it notes and a notebook that she writes to herself in. This is where it reminds me most of Memento, because Leonard used the same techniques that Flora does. Leonard’s memory was a lot shorter though. He could only remember 15 minutes at a time and people took advantage of that. The length of Flora’s working memory seems to be more fluid.
Flora can’t make new memories, until suddenly she does. She kisses a boy on the beach and SHE REMEMBERS. 50 First Dates focuses, not on Lucy and how she deals with her memory loss but on how everyone in the small town compensates for Lucy without her knowing. This always bothered me about this movie because it feels like the town keeps Lucy trapped for her own good. Flora isn’t a victim of circumstances, she is the hero of her story. She recognizes and I can see it compared to the Dog in the Nighttime due to the writing style.
The Narrator of Dog in the Nighttime is a very unique person, as is Flora, and the book is written in a style to reflect that. Where it’s a strength in the Dog in the Nighttime, this is the only area where Flora Banks struggles. The book is repetitive for stylistic reasons but it borders on being monotonous. Flora tends to perseverate on things, which is understandable but sometimes tedious. However, it also is true to the story and to Flora. It illustrates what’s going on in her brain and gives this book it’s unique voice. Ultimately, I didn’t mind it at all.