Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

This book was a difficult one to rate; I was torn between giving it 3 stars or 4. I adored Flora, but I feel obliged to acknowledge the ways in which the novel falls short of that fourth star. So in the end, I've decided upon the latter and awarded it 3.5 stars.

The One Memory of Flora Banks was a bit hit and miss for me. Although it had its flaws, when the author got it right, she absolutely nailed it. Flora is the most adorable character I've come across since Noah Sweetwine in Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You The Sun, which is a champion of YA novels, in my opinion, or Joe Fontaine from Jandy's other YA bestseller with its gorgeous prose, The Sky is Everywhere.

Flora is so wonderfully weird that you cannot help but fall a little in love with her and want to desperately protect her from the world. She's undeniably charming and honest to a fault, much like a child, which makes sense when you discover that she has been unable to store new memories since the age of ten.

Although the story behind Flora's amnesia is a sad one, there are so many humorous moments that endeared her to me. The references to the multiple jars of jam in the cupboard had me chuckling, as you realise Flora has no control whatsoever over her memories, but is doing the very best she can.

I found myself cheering her on as she embarked on a crazy expedition to the Arctic in the name of love, and could not help but get swept up in her feelings for Drake. Another character I adored was Aggi and her predilection for hilarious idioms, not to mention her accepting Flora's eccentricities without question.

But while the novel is beautifully written, it wasn't without its flaws. The repetitive style in which Flora's internal monologue is presented quickly becomes tiresome to read. Hearing her repeat almost every five minutes how Drake had kissed her made me question whether I had the will to finish the book. But I'm glad I'm persevered!

I couldn't help but wish that Flora had been at least 12 years old when she'd developed anterograde amnesia, as that way her thoughts, and the writing style that reflected them, could be handled in a less repetitive (and tiring) manner. Due to Flora's ten-year-old mentality,
much of the time, it felt like I was reading a children's book rather than a YA novel.

Although I've rated this book 3.5 stars, I'm positive that younger readers will love Emily Barr's story and its main protagonist. I defy anyone not to find her charming and adorable!

Rating: 3.5 STARS!