The Art of Forgetting Hardcover – Jun 9 2011
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“Beautiful … a must read!” — Glamour.com
“This impressive debut is . . . (dare I say it?) unforgettable.” — J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine and Commencement
“A quietly compelling literary debut … about the power of friendship and the importance of forgiveness.” — Chicago Tribune
About the Author
CAMILLE NOE PAGÁN is a frequent contributor to Glamour, Parade, Women's Health, Forbes.com, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. She lives with her family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed Marissa's character and seeing her grow without Julia's constant overbearing input. Taken under Julia's wing as an impressionable young teenager, Marissa grows complacent in her role and never takes time to find herself or figure things out without someone else's input. I liked how her self development and independence mirrored Julia's newfound dependence through out the novel as they switched roles.
I thought both characters were well developed and I enjoyed the `one that got away' storyline and how the history between the two friends and Marissa's ex-boyfriend was slowly revealed. Not only is this novel about forgetting, but forgiving as well and I loved how Julia's brain injury forced them to deal with past issues that had never completely healed.
This novel never progressed entirely as I expected. I thought the conclusion was satisfying and the entire concept fascinating. What if my best friend was suddenly replaced by a stranger, albeit one that looked exactly like her? What if I had to learn to love her all over again? What if we didn't get along anymore? What would I do? This novel was great for questioning both life and love, and especially friendship.Read more ›
The Art of Forgetting is a novel about friendships and defining who we are through them. When Julia brings up the past, trying to reunite Marissa with her first love ten years ago because of the guilt she feels at having separated them years ago, Marissa is forced to confront her decisions both past and present. Ultimately, Marissa discovers her strengths, her beauty, and appreciation for what she has in her life.
I liked Marissa right from the start, with her insecurities, her loyalty and devotion, and her kindness. The whole brain injury setting was fascinating and the author even includes resources on traumatic brain injury at the back of the novel, stating that each year an estimated 1.4 to 1.7 million people in the US will suffer a brain injury. Truly a sobering statistic.
I also liked Julia, with her 'joie de vivre', inability to commit in relationships and her possessiveness. My heart ached for her as she struggled to cope with her accident and the changes it brought in her life.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The interesting part of the story is that Julia was the confident, sometimes manipulative, but the stronger personality of the two friends. Marissa took a backseat in the relationship. However, after Julia's accident, Marissa finds herself learning to find her way without Julia always by her side.
This book is really the story of two friends and their friendship before the accident and after the accident. Their is a fun mix of sarcasm, humor and real life situations that made the entire book a great read. I really liked the characters. Julia and Marissa remind me of girls from high school and the dynamics of their friendship were very believable.
Julia brings up memories from both the girls past that Marisa would rather not deal with. Before the accident, Marissa did not need any other friend except Julia. But gradually Marissa begins to realize she has room in her life for other people now. I had such fun reading this book. It is all about forgiving and letting go and moving on with your life. I thought this was a terrific book!
The Art of Forgetting explores the twists and turns in a friendship that is less than harmonious, yet essential for one's well-being. Self-deprecating Marissa and self-centered Julia have been friends since they were fourteen. Although they show their love in very different ways, Julia and Marissa need each other to the extent that their friendship becomes an addiction. Both women are flawed, yet they remain bonded. An accident leaves Julia, a dancer, with Traumatic Brain Injury. While she recuperates their solidarity is tested and strengthened in ways neither Julia nor Marissa understands.
The book is aptly titled. New and long-held hurts are best forgotten. Julia punches Marissa with unflinching, hurtful honesty (a side effect of a frontal lobe injury). Both have issues over a man they tangled with in the past. The sheen on their friendship has been tarnished by the past and tested by the accident, but they manage to move past the old issues and form a new bond.
Marissa, who suffers from a constant need to be rescued and buoyed up by her friends, uncovers a positive self-image that can't be taught. The plot element of coaching an after-school running team comes out of the blue, but is well-utilized in Marissa's discovery that she is the only one who can help her believe in herself.
Author Camille Noe Pagán regularly publishes features about women's health in various national publications. The Art of Forgetting marks her debut in fiction. Pagán admits that fiction is a great departure from journalism. After a day of writing articles dealing with hard science, she spent her nights writing her novel. Writing fiction felt to her "like a wonderful escape; I loved sitting down and digging into my characters' lives." A specialist in scientific inquiry, the author consulted medical journals, medical experts in brain injury and entered chat rooms for first-hand perspectives from people with Traumatic Brain Injury. She provides resources for TBI at the end of the book.
Readers looking for perfect characters to emulate may be disappointed by The Art of Forgetting. The book will appeal to those who have worked hard to earn personal growth and forge strong relationships. The book is a courageous examination of flawed human beings coping with a disturbed equilibrium.
The jacket cover is luminous. Are we looking at a dancer taking her last bow due to her brain injury? Or, perhaps, the image is that of one woman or two attempting to hold themselves together against all odds.
The Penguin Group provided the advance review copy. The opinions expressed in the review are unbiased and wholly those of the reviewer.
Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
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.