August 5, 2010

Forget You: Review

Zoey's a control freak who's losing her grip on the events of her life. Her dad's gotten his girlfriend pregnant, her mother's mentally ill and attempts suicide, and Zoey impulsively decides to sleep with her close friend Brandon. A week later, things spin thoroughly out of her control, when she finds herself in the aftermath of a car accident with the events of the preceding hours wiped completely from her memory. The only one who seems to know anything about it is Doug, the guy she's had a silent war with for years - and the guy who pulls her out of the wreckage. Did she crash the party like she intended that night? Did she sleep with Brandon for a second time? And just why is Doug acting so different towards her now?

Just about every review I read of Forget You beforehand was extremely positive, so I was expecting quite a lot coming into it. It didn't exactly deliver for me, mainly because I couldn't identify that much with the main character.

I understood Zoey's need for control easily, so I got that part of her just fine. However, her lack of self-awareness - and at some times total denial of the situation - really started to grate on my nerves. All right, so she slept with Brandon and they had always been close friends. But she knew he was a player who was never satisfied with one girl and always moved on to somebody else. Yet she kept insisting that he was her boyfriend and blowing off Doug (who was clearly the much more deserving guy, even if he did have a chip on his shoulder about certain things) because of it. Brandon didn't call her, we barely ever saw him talking to her, he was constantly hanging out with this other girl - and yet Zoey just wouldn't give up this ridiculous illusion that they were dating.

Also, it irritated me that Zoey took so long before asking Doug to explain the large gaps in her memory. He clearly knew something she didn't right from the beginning, but for some reason she just kept pretending that her memory was totally and utterly fine. Maybe she was just too proud to admit that to him, or too embarrassed? Zoey later claims it's because she's worried she'll have psychological problems like her mom does...but a concussion and bipolar disorder are completely different things. Amnesia surrounding a particular event can be quite common if you hit your head! I suppose as a means of furthering the plot, it was a necessary evil (otherwise Doug could have explained everything at the very beginning and the book would have been much shorter), but I wish the reader had been provided with a better reason for it.

Furthermore, she blows up at Doug for lying to her about that night - and I agree, he certainly could have been a bit more forthcoming, especially when he finally figures out she has no memory of the events. But still, it's like the pot calling the kettle black when she's been faking a perfectly good memory (not to mention a relationship with Brandon, not just to her acquaintances but to herself) this whole time. And finally, towards the end of the novel, she spontaneously announces that her feelings towards certain characters have changed. Frankly this comes as a bit of a surprise to the reader, as Zoey has so far been shown to be amazingly out of touch with her emotions, and we have not really seen this change of heart develop (and certainly not seen her realization of it).

Apart from wanting to shake the protagonist several times, I actually quite enjoyed the storyline. The pacing was excellent, the mother's mental illness was well handled, and I particularly appreciated that (mild spoiler alert) Zoey's memory of that night never returns. Indeed, I was a bit worried that her memory of that night would come back to her in bits and pieces, but happily it did not follow that cliche. Hey, that's real life, after all - sometimes those memories are gone forever. Also, the scary idea of having such a memory loss made it just a little bit easier to sympathize with what Zoey was going through as she gradually discovers what she can't remember.

And, despite my issues with the protagonist, Echols does a great job with characterization. Virtually all her characters are flawed in some way, with issues that need to be worked out - Zoey I think I've already covered, Doug has a lot of trouble with his father as well as a mixed-bag of emotions regarding Zoey, Zoey's mother is battling bipolar disorder, Zoey's father is an extremely controlling bully of a man, and her friends Keke and Lila are too concerned with appearances and too little concerned with what's actually going on with Zoey. Some of these characters do mature and grow throughout the novel, namely Zoey (at least somewhat), Doug, and Zoey's mother, but others remain stagnant. This is also realistic, and I think I would have been disappointed if, for instance, Zoey's dad had repented of his nasty treatment of Zoey and completely turned around.

It's difficult for me to give an overall rating of this one, but I think I'll go with 3.5 out of 5 shooting stars.


  1. Great review! I haven't decided yet if I want to add this book to my tbr list yet or not! Do you suggest it to others? I mean, yeah, you gave it 3.5 stars, but is that good enough to suggest to others? Also, is the bipolar disorder talked about a lot?? I may be interested in it, if it's mentioned quite a bit. My brother is bipolar. Anyways. Great review!

  2. Going too far by Jennifer Echols is in my to-read list but after seeing your review, I think I'm going to start reading this before that! I've been seeing a lot of positive reviews about it and seeing yours made me think if I'm going to like it, I'm a bit intrigued. :)

    Usually I read books even with a 3 star rating.


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