All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Before You Forget by Julia Lawrinson

on January 30, 2017

before-you-forgetBefore You Forget
Julia Lawrinson
Penguin Random House AUS
2017, 235p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Year Twelve is not off to a good start for Amelia. Art is her world, but her art teacher hates everything she does; her best friend has stopped talking to her; her mother and father may as well be living in separate houses; and her father is slowly forgetting everything. Even Amelia.

At times funny, at times heartbreaking, this is an ultimately uplifting story about the delicate fabric of family and friendship, and the painful realisation that not everything can remain the same forever.

A brief blurb for a rather brief book.

I have to admit, I’m not sure about this book. On one hand…..there were parts that I really enjoyed. It’s very Australian and it took me straight back to being in year 12 in high school. The pressure of final projects, exams, assignments, shifting friendships, exploring parties, etc. I liked Amelia quite a lot and when it was about school I enjoyed her narration.

However, I have to admit……the part about the story concerning Amelia’s father, who is experiencing incidents of memory loss and angry outbursts, I didn’t feel the same way about it. I think it was definitely very interesting to read about that in a YA novel and in some ways the novel painted a very good picture of what that scenario would be like.

But…and this is a big but….it felt like Amelia was very removed from the whole situation. This may have been deliberate. But I felt that a teenage girl would internalise more her thoughts and feelings about what is happening. I thought she would talk more to her mother about it. I know there were also things going on with her best friend which didn’t give her that outlet either (I disliked the best friend, not sure her problems were enough to redeem her from being an ultimately selfish and vain teen, she felt very much like one of those ‘one sided’ friends that everyone knows well) so I felt like Amelia should’ve had a lot of stuff ready to pour out of her. It’s like she shelves it, puts her head down and gets on with life, almost like it isn’t happening. And like I said, that might’ve been an external coping mechanism but it felt like Amelia was disconnected from it, almost like it was happening to someone else. And because of that, I felt disconnected from it as well.

This stripped back style might appeal to a lot of people but I found myself always wanting more from Amelia. More about her feelings on her father’s diagnosis, more discussion with her mother, more of her standing up for herself with her friend, more with the boy next door. Because there are some really meaty issues at play here and Amelia herself is a very likable character. She’s funny and a bit awkward and she does show a lot of strength and resilience. I just would’ve liked to know more about what she was really feeling, having to deal with a lot of things at once.


Book #20 of 2017


Before You Forget is the 7th book for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017

One response to “Review: Before You Forget by Julia Lawrinson

  1. Deborah says:

    I’m not sure this one is for me… though I don’t seem to be on many / any Penguin / Random House mailing lists anyway. I get the occasional email but not many so mostly access their releases from o/s publishers!

    You’re doing well on the AWW challenge!

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