memory flora banks

I Kissed Drake….. I kissed Drake….. I Kissed Drake….

Get used to these words because you will be reading them over and over again in this book! Flora Banks has a brain injury which means that she cannot retain any memories after about 2-3 hours. She lives in Penzance in Cornwall with her parents and they look after her. She has to write notes on her hands and arms to remind her what’s going on,and she has letters and notes around the house with other information about her life.

She is 17 but as she had a brain aneurysm when she was 10 she still thinks that she is that age. All her memories before 10 are mostly there, including her best friend, Paige.

At the beginning of the book she is at a party with Paige. Paige’s boyfriend is leaving Penzance to study in Svalbard, Norway. Flora knows Paige at the party but doesn’t remember anyone else, she gets a bit bored and leaves to go and sit on the beach; this is where the famous kiss occurs. It is unusual because when Flora wakes up the next day she can remember it. This is so unusual that she attaches a massive significance to it and it takes over her life. It also destroys her friendship with Paige.

The other part of the story is that Flora has a brother called Jacob who lives in France. He has become very ill and her parents need to go over to France to see him. They tell Flora that she doesn’t have a passport so she can’t come with, but they have arranged with Paige that she will come and stay with Flora and look after her while they are away. Except Paige is no longer speaking to Flora and won’t come, Flora doesn’t tell her parents this and they go off thinking that she will be safe. She is left home alone for a week. Her mum rings to remind her to take her medication and she gets on with it, but this overhanging obsession with Drake becomes more and more intense. They start emailing each other and Flora becomes immersed. She then makes a decision that will change everything. She has a tattoo on her arm which says ‘ be brave ‘ and she certainly is that!

I have a few issues with this book. Although the portrayal of a person with short term memory is well done, the sense of confusion and unreality comes across really well, the significance of a kiss with a boy  (and not a very nice boy at that!) is annoying. It is also incredibly repetitive and eventually I dreaded reading those words ‘I kissed Drake…’ The twist at the end is good, almost worth reading all the way through for but, I wanted Flora to be more sorry about nabbing her best mate’s boyfriend, and she really didn’t give a damn! Considering Paige has obviously stuck by her through a very difficult time the way Flora just dropped her and became obsessed with her bloke was sad.

All in all, I have to say that this wasn’t one of my favourite reads, but it was entertaining and a sympathetic portrayal of someone with amnesia and the sacrifices that other people around them have to make. Paige is a good friend to Flora, her parents I have mixed feelings about because of what happens over the course of the book but, her brother Jacob is ace.

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