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The Art of Forgetting Hardcover – Jun 9 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (June 9 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952190
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 16 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,338,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Beautiful … a must read!” —

“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,, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. She lives with her family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Art of Forgetting is a novel about the ultimate test of friendship. When Julia, the more dominant force in the duo, suffers a brain injury leaving her forgetful along with drastic personality changes, Marissa suffers along with her. The loss of her best friend leaves her reeling and questioning everything now that Julia's filter seems to be gone and she keeps reliving the past and trudging up old issues.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Marissa and Julia have been best friends since childhood. Marissa is a smart, quiet girl with a conciliatory nature. She has always battled with her weight and lack of self-esteem, and her relationship with Julia makes her feel needed. Julia, on the other hand is gorgeous, charismatic and possessive. They are opposite in character but inseparable as friends. Now, ten years later, they are living their dream of living in New York city--'Marissa as senior editor of a glossy health magazine and Julia as a publicist for NYC Ballet. Their relationship changes suddenly, though, when Julia is hit by a cab and suffers a traumatic brain injury that affects her memory and alters her personality.

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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9eef95ac) out of 5 stars 51 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ee9b00c) out of 5 stars Friendship June 30 2011
By bookreader "Melanie" - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is the fictionalized story of a girl, Julia who in her early 30's suffers a brain injury after being hit by a car. As a result, she suffers migraines, mood swings and memory loss, along with a personality change. Her best friend, Marissa is instantly by her side to help her with her recovery.

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!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ee9b060) out of 5 stars What does friendship really mean? June 9 2011
By Holly Weiss - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Is your best friend perfect? Probably not. Evidently you love her anyway or you would have abandoned the friendship long ago.

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
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ee9b498) out of 5 stars predictable but fun Aug. 1 2011
By Samia Khan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked this book a lot, but it's basically just a guilty pleasure. I'm a single gal living in NY, and it's pretty fun to read about a 29 year old protagonist who a. works at a glossy NY based magazine, b. is pretty and fashionable without knowing it, c. is dating the dream guy, d. gets closure on old relationships, brand new functional parents via her boyfriend, an emotionally fulfilling job in non-profit that actually pays more than her corporate gig, and wala! also engaged all upon turning 30. I knew exactly what was around every bend in the book. Highly recommended for light and engaging reading - I finished this in 2 days. But let's call it what it is - a guilty pleasure, fun to read. This isn't deep.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ee9b480) out of 5 stars Loved this book! Hope Camille Noe Pagan writes many more! June 14 2011
By L. Childers - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid reader, but lately I've picked a lot of books up and then put them down because they haven't held my interest. Not so with The Art of Forgetting! I was immediately caught up in the story of Marissa and Julia and stayed up late into the night reading. It's one of those books that you really hate to see end, and that you continue to think about long after you've finished. I saw the one bad review listed here and don't understand it. Seriously? Did we read the same book? Camille Noe Pagan is a talented writer and definitely an author to watch. If you like books by Emily Giffin, Sarah Pekkanen, Allison Winn Scotch, and Laura Dave, you will love this terrific debut novel. I hope this is the first of many novels by Pagan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ee9b93c) out of 5 stars Gives You a Lot to Think About June 22 2011
By Deborah - Published on
Format: Hardcover
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.

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