The Memory Thief
Author: Emily Colin
Published: August 21, 2012
Genre: contemporary fiction
eBook: approx. 432 pages
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): When Madeleine Kimble’s husband Aiden dies in a mountain climbing accident, Maddie can only think of his earnest promise to return to her and their young son. Aiden’s best friend J.C. feels great remorse over his inability to save him, but J.C.’s grief is also seasoned with the guilt of loving Maddie through the years. Meanwhile, across the country another young man wakes up in a hospital and finds that his memories have been wiped clean, and replaced with haunting dreams of a beautiful woman and a five year old boy whom he feels driven to find. What Nicholas Sullivan discovers upon his journey is utterly unexpected—and it will change all of their lives, especially Maddie’s.
My Thoughts: I was really intrigued by the description of this novel and when comparisons were made between Emily Colin's novel and the work of Kristin Hannah, I decided to give it a try since I love Hannah's work so much. Colin writes a story of loss and grieving, between a husband and wife, father and child, two best friends, and a complete stranger. It's a really good story but something that is hard to describe (this is proving a hard review for me to write because I feel like summarizing the book would give everything away!) The chapters are told from three characters' points of view, alternating between them so that you are able to fully understand what is happening. There is Aidan, the mountain climber who tragically falls to death during an avalanche. There is Maddie, his wife who didn't want to him to go on the trip because she had a feeling that something bad might happen. Then there is Nicholas, a man who lives in North Carolina, has no idea who Aidan or Maddie are, yet has all of Aidan's memories following a horrible motorcycle accident (you keeping up yet?)
There is a lot going on, but Colin doesn't make it seem that way. It would be easy to become bogged down with the details of what is happening, how Nicholas can see Aidan's memories and communicate with him in this weird way. But Colin doesn't let that happen, and instead let's everything unfold naturally. If there is a complaint with this novel, it's that following Aidan's death, everything seems rushed between Maddie and JC. Their relationship goes from 0 to 60 in about three seconds, and all of a sudden, Colin has you focusing on their relationship instead of the loss of Aidan. I didn't like how it played out, but it didn't take away from the novel too much.
Overall, this was a great first novel from a writer and I understand why Colin drew comparisons to Hannah. Both are great writers who understand females and the connections that they form with other people. The relationships were the basis of this novel, not the coming-back-from-the-dead stuff, which is a huge feat for a first time novelist. I cannot wait to read more of Colin's work in the future and see where she goes as a writer.