Title: With Every Memory
Author: Janine Rosche
Major Themes: Memory Loss, Marriage, Forgiveness
Synopsis: As Lori starts to rebuild her life after a devastating accident resulting in amnesia, she realizes the happy family she once had is now distant and reserved.
I admit; sometimes I get books to read based solely on the cover. With Every Memory was almost one of those—although I did take a quick skim of the back cover copy, the main thing that drew me in was the beautiful cover. The other thing that drew me in was the reference to amnesia. I’ve been intrigued by stories about amnesia for a long time. Several years ago, I read the Sight Unseen series by Chautona Havig, and more recently, Mom read Restart by Gordon Korman to us—an excellent middle-grade story, which my brothers and I enjoyed. Used as a catalyst for a story, amnesia (which, I imagine, is awful to walk through in real life) can create some intriguing scenarios and illustrate points we might not otherwise get to see. So far, with the books I’ve read that contain that medical issue, they’ve all had a depth and richness that I’ve loved, and this book was no exception to that rule!
After narrowly surviving the accident that killed her son, Lori is fighting to build her life up again. But dealing with amnesia, and not remembering much at all from the past eight years, is proving more difficult than she ever imagined. She remembers life with a doting husband and happy children. Now her husband is reserved, and her daughter is distant and angry. What happened to bring them to this place? How can she bridge the gap between what she remembers and where they are now?
With Every Memory was more brutal to read than I originally anticipated…and much, much better, too. There were several points where I could feel myself tensing up, wondering what the next page was going to contain, but every time, as the story went on, I admired the way Rosche wove her story. Gripping, heart-wrenching, and all too realistic, I’m afraid, this is the story of a family who gradually fell apart—and what led them there.
I was able to connect with Lori from fairly early on in the book, and I appreciated that. I loved how she fought to show love to those around her, even when she didn’t remember them and didn’t remember the backstory for why they were acting the way they were around her. I was a little disappointed that the faith element didn’t come through more strongly here; it’s more referenced than lived out, if that makes sense. Lori’s faith was a stabilizing force in her life as she worked on moving toward recovery, but that didn’t have as much focus as it could have had. That being said, certain characters in this story exemplified the love of God over and over, maybe not in words, but in actions, and I loved that.
Besides my disappointment in the faith element, I was also somewhat disappointed in the way teenage relationships between guys and girls were handled in the book. There was little parental oversight on what was happening (granted; they were 18-year-olds), but I was made uncomfortable by the number of times there were scenes with just a guy and girl alone in his or her bedroom. Usually, they were working together on a project and there wasn’t anything overtly romantic going on, but I didn’t feel like that was a healthy way to go about things. I know it happens a lot, I know it’s realistic; I just don’t agree with the way that was handled.
I was also somewhat disappointed by the number of references to marital intimacy. I was thankful that although it is mentioned, nothing on-page goes beyond desire and kissing. I felt like it wasn’t always necessary to even refer to that much, but since I feel like this is a fairly realistic portrayal of a couple working on rebuilding their marriage and addressing some tough topics, I do give the author some grace there. In general, the author tried to keep scenes as clean and detail-free as possible, which I appreciated!
Overall, I’m thankful I got the chance to read With Every Memory! I hope this isn’t the last of Rosche’s writings that I’ll get to enjoy, because I loved the way she crafted and pulled this story together. It was well done. I had quite a few mental arguments with myself about this book, because all I wanted to do was read…but I was supposed to be a responsible adult getting Responsible Adult Things done. Sigh. If you enjoy books about people that feel like they could be your next-door neighbor or close friend, this could be an excellent choice for you!
I was given a complimentary copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: See the last paragraphs of the review. Language: “Good glory” and “thank heavens” are used in ch. 1; curse or a variant is used in ch. 2, 10, 21, 23, and 36; goodness or a variant is used in ch. 2, 12, 17, 28, 38, 39, 40, and 44 (two instances); “sweet Swayze” is used in ch. 7, 12, 24, 32, 38, and the epilogue; shoot is used in ch. 11; swear or swore is used in ch. 12, 24, 25, 35, and 36; “sure as the mountains isn’t true” is used in ch. 18; “holy smokes” is used in ch. 22; cussed is used in ch. 34; and God is used in ch. 35. There is lying in ch. 3, 6, and 9. Characters cheat in a game in ch. 14. Wine is mentioned in ch. 6, cocktails and dancing are mentioned in ch. 22, and someone is drunk and gets sick in ch. 41. A character gets a temporary tattoo in ch. 26.
Violence: In ch. 6, there are mentions of people who assume someone tried to self-harm or kill themselves. A character has a flashback to a car crash in ch. 16. There is a mention of indecent pictures being passed around at school in ch. 23, and a brief fight ensues.
Sexual content: Someone mentions sneaking out to see her boyfriend in ch. 4. Someone says, “[boys] wanted to date you for only one thing…” in ch. 10, and this is referenced again in ch. 12. In ch. 16, a character mentions the possibility of going to a hotel room with her boyfriend. Unmarried couples touch in ch. 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 21 (indecent touching), 24, 28, 32, 33, 34, 36, 41 (indecent touching), and 45, and kiss in ch. 14 (a character trying to seduce another), 19, 21 (a guy taking advantage of a girl), 32, 33, 38, and 41.
Marital intimacy is mentioned in ch. 4, and a wife tries to attract her husband. There are mentions of sex jokes in ch. 11 and 13. An affair is referred to in ch. 13, someone wonders about an affair in ch. 15, and in ch. 16, a character mentions their assumption that someone had sex before marriage. In ch. 20, a woman admires her husband. In ch. 26, a character vaguely refers to her parents being intimate, and sleeping together is referenced in ch. 27 and 38. The affair topic is brought up in ch. 32 again, someone has a flashback to an affair in ch. 35, and in ch. 42, there is another flashback to an affair. A woman tells about being raped in ch. 38, and tells of a man’s death. A woman tells about a “calculated decision [to conceive]”, and someone else mentions she was raped in ch. 43. A married couple kisses in ch. 15 (described somewhat), 25 (described somewhat, as well as a mention of arousal), 27, and 45.