Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Memory Thief and some extra book clubbing

I know I mentioned the Rochester, NY bookcrossing meetup in a recent post. It's a group that meets monthly (though I only go every-other month when the meeting is on a weekend since it's a bit of a drive for me) to eat lunch, chat, and swap books. This month's meetup was a bit different, though, as we'd won an author chat after one of the members had registered the group with Reading Group Guides. The chat was with Rachel Keener and they sent us all copies of her latest novel, The Memory Thief, to read in preparation.

Because of a number of things beyond my control, I managed to arrive just in time to miss the actual chat (which was conducted over the phone). I did get a chance to talk to the group members about The Memory Thief and to hear their thoughts on the author and what she'd shared with them.

The Memory Thief by Rachel Keener

The Memory Thief has two protagonists. Hannah, the daughter of Christian fundamentalist missionaries, and Angel, the daughter of a "trailer trash" couple. On the surface the two girls have nothing in common. Interestingly enough, Keener told the group that The Memory Thief was supposed to be Hannah's story, but that Angel wanted to take it over.

At times I found both girls to be sympathetic and at others I felt I couldn't relate to them at all. Jumping between the two different narratives was disconcerting. I find this particular response particularly interesting because usually I have no problem with that kind of construction. I think part of my problem may have been with the fact that occasionally there were significant breaks in the timelines of one character or other, ones that left gaping holes.

I'm not sure what else to write about The Memory Thief. It's not that I don't have things to say, but so much of what I'd like to comment on would necessitate revealing spoiler-type information.

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