‘I suppose it’s no use. We can be close by and watching like hawks, and those we love can still slip away.’
One of the hardest things [to some the hardest thing] in life is losing someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a neighbour, a friend or a family member what matters is that we deeply cared for this person – we might have shared something personal with them or enjoyed their company – and then one day all of that vanishes and we are left alone with only our memories. The Reminders is a book about loss, grief, memories, music and above all love.
Joan is a ten-year-old girl with a super rare condition called HSAM or highly superior autobiographical memory which makes her remember everything she does. She remembers everything from the age of three and up – she can tell what day of the week it was if you as her a question like: ‘What day of the week was January 28th 2012?’ and she’ll give you an answer that it was a Saturday (I had to go to my calendar for this btw) and exactly what she was doing that day. She loves music, song-writing and adores John Lennon and The Beatles and she inherited that love from her father hence the name Joan Lennon. Her dad has a studio where he records things and she often finds herself there listening to her father produce music. Gavin is grief-stricken because of the loss of his boyfriend Sydney and he decides to visit his old friends (Joan’s parents) in order to get his mind off of things. He meets Joan and since Joan has met Sydney (he was her mother’s friend) a couple of times she decides to make a deal with Gavin – him to help her with a song for a contest and her to tell him her memories of Gavin.
I am so grateful to the publisher for sending me this book because it’s something special. From the lovely writing to the story it tells in such a heart-warming way that it makes you want to read on and don’t stop until you’re finished. It also has an excellent cover! Told from two different POVs and with short chapters the book makes you fly through it. I especially liked the way the relationship between Gavin and Sydney was crafted because even with a few sentences you can feel the love between them. What made this book special were the memories of Joan which she shared with Gavin and made him feel closer to Sydney. We can never truly remember something the way it actually is because our memories change over time, they take different shapes, we see the important things but never the full details so the idea that a little girl who has HSAM can offer some peace of mind with her memories is something that I’m sure everyone would appreciate. This is also a story about a girl who is learning the world through music and song-writing and of course her family.
I have to take half a star off because there was a part which felt rushed and I didn’t like the way it was thought-out but that’s it. I enjoyed reading it and despite being 320 pages it’s a quick read.
The Reminders is definitely a must read for people who would like to experience life through the eyes of someone with highly superior autobiographical memory, for those who love music and stories which stay with you long after you finish them.
I would like to thank the publisher (Picador) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.
Dubbed a “Renaissance Man” by the New York Post, Val Emmich is a writer, a singer-songwriter, and an actor. He’s had recurring roles on Vinyl and Ugly Betty, as well as a memorable guest role as Tina Fey’s coffee-boy fling, Jamie, on 30 Rock. Emmich lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his wife and their two children. The Reminders is his first novel.