Hey all! Time for another book recommendation! So there’s probably two somewhat different understandings of the word “thought-provoking.” There’s thought-provoking as in “wow, that’s interesting. Very informative,” right? But then there’s also thought-provoking as in “wow, this taught me something about the way I look at life,” kind of thought-provoking. Because I’m the introspective uwu type of person I am, we’re talking about the “world-view altering” kind of thought-provoking book. It’s probably not that deep for some people, but when I first read this book, it
s h o o k me. Here we go!
They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.
Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart–a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it’s not the life she planned.
So here’s my deal with this book: it’s incredible. Sammie is in her senior year of high school when she is diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C, which is a debilitative and ultimately fatal genetic disease (not a spoiler—literally info on the back of the book!) She’s a fierce debater in her debate club, stubborn, and incredibly aware of her sense of self. She has determined that NPC will not stop her from attaining her dreams.
I’ve come to appreciate two very amazing things about this book. The first thing I want to talk about is the fact that NPC is a real disease and reading about it in this book increased my awareness of yet another example of an illness that is somewhat invisible. Early NPC symptoms consist of sporadic memory lapses and occasional loss of balance, but from the outside looking in this could simply appear as odd behavior. It’s taken me awhile (and is still a WIP!) to eradicate implicit biases I have about the concept of “invisible illnesses.” It’s one of those odd concepts to wrap your head around when you are largely unaware of the existence of such conditions. I think I can speak for a fair amount of people when I say that there’s this conundrum of how are you sick when you physically look fine?
Thankfully, there’s been SO much more talk about mental and physical health problems that appear “invisible” in recent years, and I’m so thankful I’ve found a bunch of content creators that are open and honest about their conditions and have made it their mission to spread awareness.
I guess the tl;dr of one thing I’ve come to love about this book is that it has helped me be more aware of the possibility that people around me, in one way or another, could be suffering in silence. And now that I’m more aware of that, I’m more inclined to react to things with compassion instead of judgement.
Finally, the other thing I’ve come to really love about this book is how Sammie tries her absolute hardest to not let NPC define nor limit her. I can only imagine the strength it takes to first of all, cope with the fact that you have a disease that will ultimately kill you because there’s no cure, and second of all, keep living your life despite it. This is one of those things that none of us like to talk about because dying is such a taboo topic in western culture, but this book forced me to think about it. In a way, I also nominate this book as my recommendation for best representation of resilience, because I don’t know how I’d react if I got that same news.
So ultimate tl;dr of why I nominate TMB as my recommendation for a thought-provoking book is the fact that A) it is representation of a real disease and sparks conversations about mental and physical illnesses, and B) it’s a great example of resilience and perseverance in face of life-changing diagnoses. And C) at the end of the day, this is a YA book and still had cute romance scenes that helped balance out the sadness that came with the progression of Sammie’s NPC.
If you want to know more things I had to say about The Memory Book, do make sure to check out my full review! I hope if you do read it you feel as moved as I did, but regardless, leave a comment and tell me your thoughts! See you on Friday!