Thursday, 14 January 2010

'Before I Forget' by Melissa Hill

I have just finished reading another good fiction book; another book that I was drawn to by the cover and the general look and feel of the book. This is 'Before I Forget' by Melissa Hill, Hodder & Stoughton, 2009 (pbk).

Here is the book cover:

This is about a lady called Abby that has an accident and loses her memory. Meanwhile, the person that Abby thought she was in love with, Kieran, goes off and marries someone else. Then, Abby meets Finn. Abby likes him a lot, and he really likes her. But then when she meets up with Finn again, she can't remember anything about their previous encounter; she thinks they are strangers.

The tragedy of having to live a life with memory loss is portrayed very powerfully by Melissa Hill. Abby makes lists to help her to remember and she records her encounters with Finn on her computer. There are many twists and turns to the plot. Hannah, Abby's doctor, tries to guide her through it all as best she can. She aims to give her good advice, and to stop her from getting too low.

Then, Abby discovers that she had more than one accident, and that somehow she has lost a year of her life. She is devastated. She feels that she can no longer marry Finn; that she would be too much of a burden to him, even though he has made it very clear to her many times that he loves her no matter what; and that her memory loss does not make any difference to his love for at all. Anyway, she pretends to Finn that she was still in love with Kieran; Finn is heart-broken and deletes all the records on the computer of their encounters and the time they spent together. But Abby's sister Caroline, cannot bear to see the pain that Finn is in; she tells him the truth. They are reunited.

"But Abby didn't need memories to tell her that she was deeply in love with this man and would trust him with her life." (pp. 340-341)

As someone from Milton Keyes who reviewed the book on amazon said:

"This is the first Melissa Hill book I have read, and it didn't disappoint. I could hardly put it down. I was gripped by Abby's story."

All in all, the book is a real page-turner and is certainly a book that I would recommend. I do not think I have read a modern book that dealt with this topic quite like this before either. It is an important and difficult subject that Melissa Hill handles very well, I think. The subtleties of memory loss come across powerfully; how one can remember some things, but not others.

I now intend to read some more Melissa Hill books!

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