I’m not sure whether when I initially picked this book, I was aware that the author was a graduate of the Faber Academy, a course similar to the one I’m just about to embark on. Either way, I did find out eventually and it was a partial reason for me to read on. The main character Christine is also a graduate from my university which sort of raised her appeal to me.
Off to a good start with a gripping scene, we are catapulted right into the centre of the story with Christine totally lost in an unfamiliar setting. She suffers from amnesia. Right there, we know what the story is about. Good.
Yet, despite a very good premise and original idea (an attempt at evaluating what reality, truth and trust really mean), I found the final result deeply disappointing.
While the format of having most of the story told through Christine’s journal creates a very specific angle, it also regurgitates a lot of the same material over and over again (this might “set the mood” but at the same time is a danger element of boredom) and is also unrealistic when you come to ask yourself whether you’d be able to actually write that much and that precisely each day, then also have the time to read what you wrote before AND still have a life on the side to actually do things… Leave that aside then and just accept it…
The story still has too many holes in it (Would the medical profession really lack that much attention? Would she have so few friends to care about her?) and a very obvious ending that becomes clear at about 70% down the book. I found myself then skipping ahead on many pages to finally reach some action again…The fact that Christine seems to want to hump every single male character that comes along doesn’t add to her likeability either.
But more than anything, it was the weak ending that was such an anticlimax to it all… This was coupled with a conversation that explains every single action that was taken through the entire story to just not leave any sort of doubts or unclear points to the reader. No, absolutely nothing! Everything, every aspect of the story had to be explained, so the reader wouldn’t even be tempted to think about it (no, fear not, no brains needed! Switch it off right there!) and fill the gaps in any sort of way.
Then somehow the very end tries to leave a tiny tinge of doubt of possibility that this is not just a sudden happy ending like a rabbit pulled out of a magician’s hat. But really at that point too much has been already clarified to even leave any doubt that this might not be a 100% happily ever after ending to the max…
Overall, I’d definitely not describe this book as “brilliant” or in any sort of way memorable. No, this won’t be in the archives of literary history but… it’s an easy no-brains tube/bus read to be finished and forgotten again rather quickly, sort of like the protagonist’s memory. Just don’t overthink it and it might just be entertaining enough. And should you still not be tempted, the probably even more brainless alternative will welcome you soon on the screen apparently with Nicole Kidman as Christine.