Notes to Self
Release date: November, 2011
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.
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.
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