Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Art of Forgetting by Camile Noe Pagan

4 Star

Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar.

And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken.

With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future.

The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and myths that hold us back, and the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.

Lydia - 4 Star

The Art of Forgetting is a novel about the ultimate test of friendship. When Julia, the more dominant force in the duo, suffers a brain injury leaving her forgetful along with drastic personality changes, Marissa suffers along with her.  The loss of her best friend leaves her reeling and questioning everything now that Julia’s filter seems to be gone and she keeps reliving the past and trudging up old issues.

I enjoyed Marissa’s character and seeing her grow without Julia’s constant overbearing input. Taken under Julia’s wing as an impressionable young teenager, Marissa grows complacent in her role and never takes time to find herself or figure things out without someone else’s input. I liked how her self development and independence mirrored Julia’s newfound dependence through out the novel as they switched roles. 

I thought both characters were well developed and I enjoyed the ‘one that got away’ storyline and how the history between the two friends and Marissa’s ex-boyfriend was slowly revealed.  Not only is this novel about forgetting, but forgiving as well and I loved how Julia’s brain injury forced them to deal with past issues that had never completely healed. 

This novel never progressed entirely as I expected. I thought the conclusion was satisfying and the entire concept fascinating. What if my best friend was suddenly replaced by a stranger, albeit one that looked exactly like her? What if I had to learn to love her all over again?  What if we didn’t get along anymore? What would I do? This novel was great for questioning both life and love, and especially friendship.    

I did wish the relationship with the sister was developed a little further and I was surprised by how little the novel actually had to do with ballet and although ballet isn’t one of my most favourite things in the world, I think I would have liked to see a bit more considering the dominant theme the cover insinuated. 

Pick up The Art of Forgetting today if you’re looking for a great one about friendship!  I look forward to reading more from Camile Noe Pagan.

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