This is the premise of the novel that I've just read, The Song Remains the Same, by Allison Winn Scotch, published in 2012, my first book involving a character afflicted by amnesia. In this case, the amnesia was brought on by a devastating plane crash in which there are only two survivors, Nell Slattery, the protagonist, and Anderson Carroll, a handsome and charming actor (sought by Spielberg). In this book, Nell (named after the Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby) tries to regain her memory through pictures, both photos and paintings, with the help of friends, family, and professionals, and also through music. Her younger sister, Rory, attempts to help Nell by giving her an iPod with hundreds of songs on it, to see if music will jog her memory, help her recover the past. However, Nell learns from a colleague that when it comes to her marriage, it may be better to forget, because her husband, Peter, has slept with another woman. Her mother wants her to forgive Peter, while Rory seems adamantly opposed to any sort of reunion with him.
"I wouldn't say that I was raised on romance. Let's not get stuck in the past."
~Elvis Costello, Pay It Back
As Nell sincerely tries to remember the past she has lost in the crash, she soon realizes that reconstructing it is no easy task, and that the truth is hard to uncover. She tries wholeheartedly to remember, she tries to be a good person, and she also tries to rebuild her marriage and trust her husband. Inspired by the TV show, Friends, she also attempts to adopt a more dynamic personality. I give her an "A" for all of her effort. I rooted for her and wanted her to regain her memory, or at least enough of it so that she wouldn't feel completely disoriented, without an identity and frames of reference. Nell focuses intently on her artist-father, Francis, who disappeared when she was a young teenager. She believes that her father is an important key to her past, and to regaining her memory. Nell feels that solving the mysteries surrounding her father, who's supremely talented artistically (but also very selfish), will help her in the present.
|Photo of Led Zeppelin, courtesy of Wikipedia|
All in all, I enjoyed reading this book. I'd definitely like to read Allison Winn Scotch's NY Times bestseller, Time of My Life. The Song Remains the Same does make you think about what you'd do in similar circumstances, without memories of the past to guide you. Would you rely on your gut feelings or intuition? On others? How would you (although I dislike this overused term, it truly fits here) "reinvent" yourself? And practically, how would you piece together the past, and live in the present? The premise of The Song Remains the Same was unique to me, and the book is humorous, well-written, and thought-provoking.
The Penguin Group is generously offering a copy of The Song Remains the Same as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only) to a lucky reader.
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Enter by 5PM PDT on Monday, April 30. One lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced on Tuesday, May 1. Good luck!
Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me an advance copy of this book. For more reviews, please visit the other stops on TLC'sThe Song Remains the Same book blog tour.