Friday, January 25, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac suffers not from amnesia but split-personality disorder. Gabrielle Zevin’s book can’t decide if it wants to be an authentic teen drama or a popular teen romance.

After a fall down the stairs at her high school, Naomi wakes to discover she has forgotten the last four years of her life. Unfortunately, those four years include her mother’s affair, her parents’ divorce, and her own romance with the school’s star tennis player.

The amnesia plot device is very Days of Our Lives, but at times the book rises above its soap opera origins. Naomi’s reactions as she relearns of her mother’s affair and her own sexual relationship with a boy she now finds unappealing feel authentic. The book also addresses issues such as suicide, depression, and drug use.

Yet, Zevin seems unable to settle on the book’s genre. The moments of authenticity are belied by love triangles straight out of an ’80s’ teen flick. A book that could have given insights into modern-day teen angst instead ends up as a glorified episode of General Hospital.

No comments: