Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Review: "The Art of Forgetting" by Camille Noe Pagan

Summary from Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar.

And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken.

With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future.

When I first started reading this book I felt like I was a horrible person. I felt like someone who hates babies or kicks puppies. It's not a good feeling. Why did I feel this way? Because I kept getting annoyed with Julia throughout the story. This is both during the flashback and after she has her injury. I feel bad because I was not liking someone who has a severe injury and cannot control how they act. Then I realized that I was judging Julia based on her past actions. That's when I realized that this book had got me really thinking about not only the story but myself as well.

Marissa has been friends with Julia ever since in school when Julia accepted her in school and took her under her wing. Since then Marissa has stuck by Julia's side through thick and think sometimes even sacrificing things to save their friendship. Then Julia suffers a brain injury and Marissa comes to terms with their friendship. She begins to slowly pull away while at the same time still be true to her best friend. The story fluctuates between the past and present as Marissa reflects on their friendship. Throughout the book, we also see the relationships that Marissa shares with others including her boyfriend, her mother, her assistant and her own self.

During the middle of the story, I found myself getting so frustrated with Marissa and Julia to the point where I was worried that I might force myself to stop reading. I even contemplated throwing the book across the room if a certain event that I didn't want to happen took place. Luckily, I discussed my fears on Twitter and was told to stick out the rest of the book. I'm glad that I did. Even though the story did not go exactly how I would have liked it to have turned out, it was more than satisfying.

I believe that this is Pagan's first novel and I was more than happy to have discovered it. This is a story about friendships, how they can become toxic and how they can stand the hardest test. It's a story about mean girls and how some women never grow out of it. It's also a story bringing attention to brain injuries and how the results can change a person's life forever. Pagan has captured all these topics into a brilliant story. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan is published by Dutton (2011)

This ARC was provided for a blog tour with TLC Book Tours

I'm able to give away one copy of this book provided by the publisher. To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to US and Canada entrants only. Winner will be picked Wednesday June 29.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.


  1. I was super annoyed with Julia throughout the book too, but like you I'm glad I stuck it out. The book really had me thinking about friendships in my own life, which I loved. Great review.

  2. I burst out laughing over your opening line about hating babies and kicking puppies. That was awesome. =D

    Despite all this, I'm still curious about the book - BECAUSE of your opening line and the beautifully designed cover art which I rather like!

  3. I love it when a book really makes me THINK. This one sounds like a great read - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  4. I've had this book on my TBR List since I first heard about it. Honestly, it was the cover that first attracted me. So, when I read it's about female friendships, I knew I had to read it. I like books that make me think... challenge me in some way. Sometimes they are the ones that stay with me long after I finished the book. Great review.

  5. Anonymous2:42 PM

    This is one of the Books that is on my TBR list.
    I love reading books about Female Friendships. This sounds like a great Book and can't wait to read it.

  6. Great review! I love the way you put how you felt about Julia. I just finished reading it this morning and I felt bad for being annoyed with Julia too! But like you, my dislike of her didn't deter my ultimate enjoyment of the story.


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