I’ve never misplaced a shoe, lost a library book, or forgotten a homework assignment. But there’s a downside. Not all memories are good. That’s why last month when I blew out the candles got my fifteenth birthday, I only had one wish. I wished I could forget (p 3).
Due to a childhood accident, Baxter Green has the remarkable ability to remember everything he has heard, seen or experienced. He also experiences voices in an unusual way. Halle, his best friend from kindergarten who subsequently moved away, sounds like yellow daffodils while his mother’s boyfriend, Dink, sounds like muddy water.
When Baxter was twelve, he testified against Dink who coerced him into a credit card scam utilizing his amazing memory. Though Dink is convicted, he is released three years later on parole. Baxter and his mother move away to a small mining town in Minnesota where Halle now lives.
With hopes of starting a new life – not one where he is known as “memory boy” and teased – and finding the girl he has loved since kindergarten, Baxter keeps him amazing talent a secret. But his past is constantly haunting him as memories crowd his mind. Can he win Halle’s heart, elude Dink, successfully protest against mining conditions, and live a normal life?
Ellsworth’s novel is layered with a quick pace for a rather introspective tone. I was interested from the beginning and plot lines, though many, are introduced evenly and smoothly. The very concept of a true photographic memory is intriguing. As the narrator becomes immersed in the complications of “normal” high school living, there is a little over explanation (though I find this common in first person narrators) that I believe was unnecessary because of the concurrent Great Gatsby dialogue. But overall, an enjoyable read. Unforgettable has received a starred review from Kirkus.
Advance Reader Copy | Sept 27, 2011 | Walker & Company, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc. | 256 pages | ISBN 978-0-8027-2305 | $16.99