Title: Before I Forget
Author: Melissa Hill
Release Date: September 4, 2008
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When Abby wakes up in the hospital, she doesn’t quite remember what has happened. The doctor informs her that she was hit in the head and has brain damage, and as a result, her brain will have trouble translating short-term memories into long-term ones. To put it succinctly, she could lose every memory she has, and be unable to make new ones. Determined to beat it, Abby sets out on a quest to make her life something worth remembering.
Before I Forget is a book I picked up while I was studying at Oxford this summer. There’s something about British chick lit for me – though some of it is available in the US, much of it (including this book) isn’t. It’s really a tragedy because there’s so much great British chick lit out there that American audiences will never get the chance to read. Before I Forget is one of those titles.
This book deals with a serious subject – memory loss. Specifically, how much do our memories make up who we are? If Abby loses all of her memories, she loses any sense of identity she has. But does she lose herself in the process? Would she still be the same person without her memories? It’s a complicated question without any real answers. Abby faces a horrible situation that is really difficult to imagine, much less understand.
I loved how strong Abby was in the face of this tragedy. She was difficult to like at the beginning of the novel, but when faced with adversity, she really grew as a person. She realized how much she had been holding herself back and just let go. She wanted to have a life that was worth remembering. It was a beautifully positive attitude for such a horrible predicament, and it was really uplifting to read about.
At the same time, Abby isn’t falsely cheerful. She despairs at her potential memory loss, and is in denial about it for a time. She’s portrayed incredibly realistically, as a multilayered and complex woman who is desperate to hold onto whatever she can, since everything seems to be slipping away from her so quickly.
I absolutely loved Before I Forget and highly recommend it, especially for those who think chick lit is fluff that is about shopping and running after men. It’s a well-written, emotional read, and even though it isn’t available in the US, it can be purchased through The Book Depository, which has free worldwide shipping!