“That’s when I knew how important it was to memorize the wonderful things we get in life. Because…well…when they ain’t no longer there, you’ll still see them in that corner of your dream just before you wake up. Our memory is our way of making sure that things are never really gone.” -- Memorizing You by Dan Skinner
Some reviews I write are rushed. Some are shallow. Most of the time I'll give a book a star rating with no explanation and leave it at that. When I finish a book, I either delete it from my library or occasionally move it to my "Completed" folder if it was especially good.
The next thing I do is go to my TRB list and select the another book I want to read. I still haven't been able to start another book since completing this one last week. One week later and I still can't shake this book. I'm still feeling all kinds of emotions and thinking about different scenes. And thinking about what it did to me -- and what it continues to do inside me.
I guess this is not even a "formal" review, but more like some personal reflections on what this book meant to me. I'm not good at blurbing a book, so I won't even attempt a blurb here. You can find one here if you're interested. Also, if you're looking for some reviews, check out this link on Amazon or this one on Goodreads.
In my library, I have a folder called "Treasures" and when I moved Memorizing You into that folder last week, it joined a small collection of books I consider my all-time favorites -- books I will revisit and reread and recommend to other people who are interested in seeing a world filled with the kind of depth and meaning that makes life worth living. Worth living and worth risking everything for because you've been given the chance to see the beauty and wonder and pain and magic of a life as it really is.
This book is special to me. I consider it a gift that has allowed me to see life on a deeper level. That has opened me to feel things so that I'm not the same person I was when I first picked up this book.
I could hardly contain myself while I was reading it. Usually reading is a very solitary thing where I withdraw into myself, block out the "real" word, allow myself to be transported to another time and place, and watch other people live their lives.
This book wouldn't allow me to do any of those things. Very, very few books engage me the way this one did. I would start reading one page and have to come out of my solitary confinement to read a passage to Brad. And he would close his eyes while I read two or three pages to him. When I finished, he would sometimes look at me and say, "Read those last two paragraphs again. I want to hear that again."
This is an intense book. Just like life. It has great humor that caught me off guard at times and doubled me over with delightful, joy-filled laughter. Just like life.
It's a book about first love. It's about being open to one's authentic self. It's about self-discovery and the magic that happens when your true self is discovered by another.
The thing about authentic love is how risky it can be when you open yourself to it. It's also about how discovering that love can breathe the very essence of life into your soul. It's about how you change in some very fundamental ways when you open yourself to it. And it's also about how your entire world changes when that happens. As one character in the story says,
“Love doesn’t happen because you find the right bricks and cement to build it. Love really is…pure magic. It comes from”—she gestured toward the heavens—“out there. And it falls like pixie dust wherever it wants. And when it does…you can fly.”
The greatest compliment I can give to an author is to say, "You wrote an honest story that moved me deeply and changed me. I think about life differently now. I feel more alive than ever."
I feel like Dan Skinner's book is a gift to me, and in return I give him the gift of this high compliment. Thank you.