Monthly Archives: May 2015

Find Me- Laura Van Den Berg

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My unconscious mind is very powerful and it wants me to live.

Before I talk about the above book I have a confession to make. I gave up on a book. Yes, it’s true. I had been carrying it around with me like an albatross around my neck and I just couldn’t bring myself to open it. I started it, don’t get me wrong, I just couldn’t get into it. I voiced my concerns to my coworker JB: “It always makes me nervous when, on the back of the book, instead of praising the book you currently have in your hands it’s praise for their other book.” But let’s be honest. It’s true. Whenever a back cover says wonderful things only about the first book the book you have is usually not so great. That’s what happened. I’m sure it was a fine book, but at this point of the year it just wasn’t for me. I’m not going to tell you which book it is, because I feel like that is unfair, and who knows maybe I’ll pick it up again and love it. Such is the life of a reader. Anyway, onwards and upwards.

As I was walking around the library last week feeling utterly ashamed that I gave up on a book I stumbled on the “Lucky  Days Collection”.  It is described as such:

 “Lucky Day is a collection of the most popular, current, in-demand books,” explains Library Director Jessica Keyser. “We have filled the Lucky Day shelves with best-sellers and other books that currently have a long waiting list. We hope that our patrons will be surprised and delighted by their ‘luck’ in finding these titles on the shelf when they walk in the door, no waiting required. The Lucky Day collection is our love letter to the Ferndale community.”

The catch is; you can only keep the book out for one week. One week? I’m a fast reader at the best of times, especially if I have the time and am completely engrossed in the book. (I read The Other Boleyn Girl in two days and finished the bulk of Winter’s Tale in one.) Even so, one week is not a long time, since I don’t take the train anymore that has eaten in to my reading time. The industry I’m in is also not conducive to reading either. It’s hard to come home at 3 o’clock in the morning and crack open a book when all you want to do is mindlessly watch that episode of Friends you’ve seen a million times. That’s neither here nor there.

So, I had seen Find Me on a few lists for “books you should read in 2015” and after glancing at the synopsis on the inside flap; and checking to see how many pages it was I decided to go for it. At 278 pages it was a quick read. Now, I’m not saying that the amount of pages makes a book any easier to read, Jude the Obscure was pretty short and that was brutal!

It is told from the eyes of Joy a girl who was abandoned when she was only a month or so old at a hospital, it is there she was given the name Joy. She is then pushed through the foster care system and lives in a few different homes. She keeps her sentences short and to the point but filled with emotion. She is a girl who has been beaten down by the system and a life of floating from place to place where people don’t seem to really want her around. After she is on her own for a while an epidemic sweeps through the country. People, everywhere, are forgetting everything. She happens to be one of the lucky few that is immune. She is taken to a hospital where the “lucky” people are being held so that scientists and doctors may examine them day in and day out trying to find a cure.

It’s not until she breaks free that the book really grabbed my attention. Joy starts to remember things from her past that have long been hidden away. It’s in these parts that she becomes more relatable. Now, I’m not saying that the things that happened to Joy happened to me, no, I’m saying that we all have things that we would like to bury deep in to our psyche and never let out again.

A theory on why we stop remembering: there is a part of our story that we do not know how to tell ourselves and we will away its existence for so long that finally our brain agrees to a trade: I will let you forget this, but you will never feel whole.

Find Me is a fantastic book that turned bloody brilliant as it kept on. You find yourself identifying with Joy and her best friend Marcus on their journey to forgiveness and life. This being Ms. Van Den Berg’s first novel I’m interested to see what else she has up her sleeve. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up really enjoying this book. I finished it at the laundromat last night and every time I read a great line I looked around searching for someone to tell. “Hey, listen to this…”