Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

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Notes to Self
Avery Sawyer
Release date: November, 2011

Goodreads / Purchase

Two climbed up. Two fell down.

One woke up.

In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed.

*A copy was provided by Avery Sawyer for review purposes*

After a brain injury, Robin is dealing with amnesia, having to learn her likes, dislikes, but most importantly: what really happened that night, the night she and her friend fell. A short book, but one dripping with emotions and filled with mystery.

From the very start, Robin is someone I understood. She took me in her head and made herself open so I could see her vulnerability, her worries and fears. She also has a great sense of humor that I adored. It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in her story, making this a very quick read. However, it’s not an easy one. Her best friend is in a coma for which her classmates blame her. In addition, she’s unable to remember random details about her life, like how she likes her coffee, where her classes are, or how to shower – it’s heartbreaking. The reactions around her are also really frustrating. These kids, they bully her, they mock her, they’re endlessly cruel – it’s incredibly sad but what’s worse is it’s realistic.

Avery takes the complex subject of brain damage and executes it extremely well. Robin’s thoughts would wander, she would get confused, then we see her re-learn everything; figuring out how to become herself again. Flashbacks solidify this by showing us who Robin was before the accident, at the same time helping us understand how deep her friendship with Emily is. All the while, we’re lead to the big mystery of how the fall happened exactly, and what Emily said that night that Robin keeps feeling is very important.

I didn’t expect this book to be so profound, so packed with different emotions ranging from love to despair; I truly enjoyed it. Ultimately, Notes to Self tackles survivor’s guilt: it’s about finding oneself, finding the strength to move on after such a traumatizing accident, but also accepting that things happen out of our control. 

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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20 Responses to “Review: Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer”

  1. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I’ve always been so intrigued by books about brain damage and memory loss. It’s interesting how authors handle it differently. Before I Go to Sleep was a slight disappointment because I didn’t feel that the subject was explored enough, while I really liked how Kate Gordon handled it in Thyla.

    I’m very interested in this, just to see how it was done. It’ll probably push its way up to the very top of my tbr.
    Thank you for the great review, Giselle!

  2. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    I’ve seen reviews for this book before. They all seem to agree that it’s beautiful and meaningful. I love that it’s about such an important subject. I’m glad you enjoyed Note to Self so much. Nice review!

  3. Giselle

    @Maja: I haven’t read Before I Sleep (Though I want to) but in my opinion this one was handled great. I think you should try it! Curious to see what you think chicky!

    @Andrea: Thanks Andrea, all of my friends who have read it on GR also really enjoyed it. 🙂

  4. Katie @ BlookGirl

    Great review, Giselle! Brain injuries are no joke :-\

    My Uncle Michael was hit by a semi when he was 18 and dragged down the street. He was in a coma for (I think) 6 months. When he woke up, he was missing part of one leg and his memory. He couldn’t recall that chicken was his favorite food, or how to eat it. Thankfully, he eventually learned how do to everything again, and with the help of his family, recovered very well.

    I can’t imagine going through something like that ::shudder::

  5. Amy

    I really enjoyed this book too. I thought it was well written and a great and emotional story. I felt the connection to Robin too. Just the way we are in her head, you can’t help but feel her. Fantastic review!!

  6. Jessi

    I most definitely agree with your thoughts on this one. Robin was a character that I found myself completely absorbed in. Her emotional state was traumatizing for me as a reader and her situation was utterly heart-breaking. I got so sucked into this story when I read it. Great review, Giselle.

  7. Sam

    This sounds like a really interesting read and I’m glad it managed to surprise you with that. I love a story packed with emotion where you can tell the author has really put effort into the book. It’s great to hear she managed to execute a complex story so well. awesome review, Giselle! 🙂

  8. Jac

    Memory Loss and Brain Trauma are two things that really fascinating me. It’s also one of the scariest things I can imagine! I think I’m going to have to pick this one up 🙂

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  9. Shirley

    Ooohh this sounds like a book I’ll cry in :S I love books that are packed with emotions, especially ones that evoke such emotions in readers as well! Might try this someday – definitely my type of book (although I’ll certainly have high expectations!) Awesome review Giselle! I’m adding this to my to-read list now<3

  10. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    Wow, I love the sound of this one. It sounds real good and definitely intense. o: I can’t believe I haven’t heard much about this one before. Great review, Giselle! You’ve made me extremely curious.

  11. Lexie

    . . . honestly? I’m tempted to spend ages rooting around for my Nook power cord just so I can purchase this. It just sounds so fascinating and heart-breaking, and that is precisely my kind of book. The contemporaries that make me feel something, that make me genuinely feel, will always be my favorites. I need to read this. Lovely review, and thank you for introducing me to this book.

  12. Karen

    Notes to Self sounds so interesting. I can’t imagine how frustrating this would be and the circumstances sound so heartbreaking. Nice review.