Thursday, June 9, 2011
Review: Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
In Nora, Micah, and Winter’s world, people can take pills that make them instantly forget the bad things they see—which comes in handy since bombings within their city are a daily occurrence. On her first trip to the forgetting clinic, Nora finds out what her mother is taking pills to forget, and decides that she must remember it.
She teams up with Micah and Winter to produce a comic, titled “Memento,” depicting the memories they have been told to forget, and it goes viral, catching the attention of the authorities. Now, Nora, Micah, and Winter are in a race to stay one step ahead of the authorities, who will undoubtedly force them to take the big forgetting pill in order to make sure they stay in line.
What happens if people could just make bad memories go away with one pill? What kind of deceitful and harmful world would that create? Angie Smibert answers these scary questions in the shockingly believable MEMENTO NORA, a short and quick-paced dystopian read that will remind you of the best—and worst—parts of hi-tech futuristic thriller movies.
Smibert’s dystopian world-building is believable. Nora, Micah, and Winter live in hi-tech dystopian world, where everything—everything that is not being bombed, or purposely ignored by the authorities, that is—is pristine and perfect and chock-full of personalized advertising. That’s Nora’s life. On the other side is the world in which Micah and Winter live, which is scruffier, less well organized…and, unfortunately, less well-depicted than Nora’s world. While I could picture the orderly world in which Nora lives, I had a more difficult time seeing Winter’s obstacle course of a house, or Micah’s beehive of a communal living area. How do the two different places fit together? I couldn’t really picture how the main characters traveled between the two different worlds.
The book, it seems, focused more on the plot and less on character development. The plot was quick, snappy, and a little frightening, although at times I did feel like it resorted to “off-page” moments to work things out. In comparison, the three protagonists are woefully underdeveloped. They didn’t really stand out to me as unique characters—which is not to say that character development isn’t possible under 200 pages, just that I don’t think MEMENTO NORA did that as much as I wanted. The plot, too, kind of fell off towards the end, speeding towards something that was out of the characters’ control, but which I never fully believed either.
MEMENTO NORA is an interesting and diverting dystopian read, with a decent world-building and plot. In terms of character development, however, I have read others in which I was more invested.
Cover discussion: I'm not the biggest fan. Is that model supposed to be Nora? And against a city skyline? Really now? Is that all it takes to supposedly portray this story?
Marshall Cavendish / April 28, 2011 / Hardcover / 184pp. / $16.99
Requested from author and publisher for review.