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Forgotten – by Cat Patrick

December 12, 2011

ForgottenI generally don’t have any problem suspending my disbelief, and am willing to accept some fairly ridiculous premises for the sake of a story, but I really struggled with this one. I thought the concept sounded interesting, but once I started reading, the questions started coming, and the more I thought about it, the more questions I had and the less sense it all made. I’m happy to say that most of them were answered and most of my misgivings were for naught, but there are a few lingering issues that continue to bother me.

London Lane lives a very different sort of life. Her memories of each day disappear every morning at 4:33, so she has no memory of her past, but she can remember the future. She writes herself notes every night so she’ll know what needs to be done each day, and the only people that know her secret are her mother and her best friend. And then she meets Luke, a boy who is inexplicably absent from her memories of the future, and a memory she’s been blocking starts to return, causing her to begin digging into her past and wondering if maybe the future can be changed.

It’s a cool idea—a girl who remembers the future but not the past—but the more you think about it…. I mean, why hasn’t she tried to change the future before, even just in small ways? For example, if on Thursday, she can remember having blisters on her feet on Friday, why would she still choose to wear the shoes that caused them? Wouldn’t you think, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll wear sneakers instead’? Also, and more importantly, how does she survive school? We see her in classes all the time and having problems like forgetting that she needed to bring in a permission slip or gym clothes, but she never seems to have a problem with the fact that she would remember things she will learn in class later in the year but not what she learned yesterday. Wouldn’t teachers notice this? Does she get up really early every morning to relearn everything? There’s no way that’s even possible. And how does she deal with final exams? The harder you think about it, the muddier and more convoluted it becomes.

My other main problem here is that even though, surprisingly, I managed to be convinced by the end that it was plausible for London to forget everything at 4:33 every morning, there was never any attempt to explain why the event that caused that condition would also cause her to remember the future. It doesn’t need to be a good explanation. I would have accepted that she could always remember the future, even when she also remembered the past. I would even have accepted that the future-memories appeared just to fill the vacuum left by the memories she lost, but there wasn’t any attempt to even consider the issue. Confusion aside however, I did enjoy this book. It’s a fascinating concept and questions are answered a little bit at a time, which is as it should be. There’s a bit of a mystery and it ends up being rather gripping and a quick read. I also quite liked the romance aspect, even though, again, I had some misgivings at first. So it’s worth a read; just try not to think about it too hard.

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