A woman wakes up in a hospital after a car accident with no memory of who she is, only the name Victoria Winslow and a series of words and concepts that don’t seem to have much relationship to each other. Jack Post, the handsome movie star who hit her with his car, is guilt-ridden and offers her a place to stay while she recovers, as well as a private investigator to help her figure out who she is. But what that private investigator reveals leaves her horrified by the person she was, and she finds herself trying to put back together a life that her own actions had been unraveling.
In FORGETTING ME, author Katherine Tirado-Ryen does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the story, as we begin with as blank a slate as the protagonist and have her memories unfolded to us as they are revealed to her—telling her story in bits and pieces until the whole tale is revealed. Identity is obviously a key theme: the question of what happens when the memories of all the little choices, all the experiences and decisions that make a person who they are, get swept away. This woman with amnesia is the only one left behind to deal with the consequences of her previous self’s actions, a self she doesn’t even like. Left to atone for sins she doesn’t remember committing, she has to fight for the memories that will tell her why she did what she did, what experiences and feelings led her to become the person who now revolts her.
The characters are well-drawn, three-dimensional and human, with realistic flaws and virtues. The book does make an odd sharp turn in the middle. It starts out feeling like a relatively predictable romance novel, but diverts into what feels like another book entirely (still a romance novel, but a different trope). On one hand, this is a bit jarring to the reader—but on the other hand, that parallels the heroine’s experience, as she is jarred out of her expectations and thrown into a life she finds seriously disconcerting.
A couple of places have minor editing fails; describing her coffee’s “vanilla fragrances of vanilla,” for example. Or when a bit of text is repeated in two slightly different ways, as if the author had written it down, decided to change it, and accidentally left both variants in: “She held the items as guiltily as if she had stolen them from Nordstrom’s. ‘Seriously?’ ‘I don’t know, Anne. This is too much.’” And in the next paragraph: “‘Seriously?’ Elena held the items as guiltily as if she had just stolen them from Nordstrom’s. ‘I don’t know.’” Still, this is a fascinating look at identity, memory, and the relationship between them—as well as a rather sweet and tender love story.
Katherine Tirado-Ryen’s FORGETTING ME is an engaging and thoughtful book about memory loss and reclaiming one’s own identity, with a sharp plot twist in the middle that takes it in an unexpected yet interesting direction.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader