Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review: Blank Slate Kate

By Melissa Amster

First there was "Remember Me?" by Sophie Kinsella, in which a woman lost her memory of the past three years. Then there was "What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty, which was about a woman who lost TEN years in a bout of amnesia. Now there's "Blank Slate Kate" by Heather Wardell, where a 31 year-old woman last remembers being 16!

Kate wakes up one day in a strange man's room and in an older woman's body. The last thing she remembers is being in high school and hanging out with her friends. Suddenly she's an adult and so much has happened in fifteen years, but she has no memory of anything! While she has to rely on people to help to fit the pieces together, she soon realizes there's a lot more to her life than meets the eye. Can she start over with a blank slate or will she constantly be haunted by her past?

Based on the fact that there are a lot of amnesia stories out there right now, including the upcoming novel "The Song Remains the Same" by Allison Winn Scotch, I was hesitant to read this at first. However, it came highly recommended by someone who shares my taste in books, so I decided to give it a fair shot. What I soon came to realize is that this is not like other memory loss stories. Not only was there a surprise around every corner, but the large span of time allowed for an explanation of all the differences from 1996 to 2011. Ms. Wardell captured perfectly the feelings of someone who was a teenager one day and an adult the next. Like "What Alice Forgot," this story also reminded me of 13 Going on 30, but in different ways. Each of the characters had a lot of depth and it was easy to see who we should like and dislike. The romantic storyline threaded through this novel was absolutely incredible. It was so easy to get swept up in it and feel the way Kate felt about her love interest. The whole story was suspenseful and also written in such a comfortable way that it was easy to get lost in the pages and forget about everything else going on. I was sad when I reached the last page and realized it was over. It was like having to part from a new friend.

There were a couple of issues I found, but they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel. The first was a detail error in regards to time. Kate claims she was born in August of 1979 (her birthday is right after my sister’s, so it was easy to figure out her age). However, she says she was 17 in March of 1996 and 32 in March of 2011. She wouldn’t be those ages until August of those years. The other thing that seemed odd was that she didn’t remember her actual name. Wouldn’t she have the same name she remembered having as a teenager? It’s one thing to lose a memory of time, but I didn’t think her name would go along with it. Perhaps Ms. Wardell could enlighten me on this concept. There was a lot of “advertising” in the way she mentioned common restaurant names. It made me want to go to Starbucks, for sure. I just think that she should get a kickback from Starbucks and McDonalds, as well as whichever iPhone device she mentioned a few times. There was someone with whom she had a falling out, and I would have liked to see some reconciliation, but sometimes that’s not even possible in real life. Finally, the real reason for her amnesia seemed anticlimactic to me, but with all the other surprises she received, I was glad that it wasn’t too heavy for Kate to process and that it led to a happy ending.

Overall, I loved "Blank Slate Kate" and have been recommending it ever since I got into the thick of the story. I even contacted Ms. Wardell a few times to tell her how much I was enjoying it and how far I was into the story. This was the first novel I have read by Ms. Wardell and I look forward to reading more!

"Blank Slate Kate" is available on Kindle for 99 cents!

More by Heather Wardell:

All are 99 cents for Kindle!


Na said...

I am going to keep my eye on this book. I admit there a lot of amnesia stories out there so it's great to hear of one that is still different. The long spaces between years is interesting if especially with the differences explained. 13 Going on 30 was a great movie :)

The Book Chick said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed this one Melissa!!