Monday, June 14, 2021

Review - Remember

Title:  Remember
Author Lisa Genova
Publisher:  Harmony
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   256
Date of Publication:   March 23, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

A fascinating exploration of the intricacies of how we remember, why we forget, and what we can do to protect our memories, from the Harvard-trained neuroscientist and bestselling author of Still Alice.

Have you ever felt a crushing wave of panic when you can't for the life of you remember the name of that actor in the movie you saw last week, or you walk into a room only to forget why you went there in the first place? If you're over forty, you're probably not laughing. You might even be worried that these lapses in memory could be an early sign of Alzheimer's or dementia. In reality, for the vast majority of us, these examples of forgetting are completely normal. Why? Because while memory is amazing, it is far from perfect. Our brains aren't designed to remember every name we hear, plan we make, or day we experience. Just because your memory sometimes fails doesn't mean it's broken or succumbing to disease. Forgetting is actually part of being human.

In Remember, neuroscientist and acclaimed novelist Lisa Genova delves into how memories are made and how we retrieve them. You'll learn whether forgotten memories are temporarily inaccessible or erased forever and why some memories are built to exist for only a few seconds (like a passcode) while others can last a lifetime (your wedding day). You'll come to appreciate the clear distinction between normal forgetting (where you parked your car) and forgetting due to Alzheimer's (that you own a car). And you'll see how memory is profoundly impacted by meaning, emotion, sleep, stress, and context. Once you understand the language of memory and how it functions, its incredible strengths and maddening weaknesses, its natural vulnerabilities and potential superpowers, you can both vastly improve your ability to remember and feel less rattled when you inevitably forget. You can set educated expectations for your memory, and in doing so, create a better relationship with it. You don't have to fear it anymore. And that can be life-changing. 


Lisa Genova has published five fictional novels. Her debut novel Still Alice (2007) is the heartbreaking story of 50-year-old Harvard professor Alice Howland's early onset Alzheimer's disease. Her sophomore book was Left Neglected (2011), is the story of Sarah Nickerson's life after an accident causes a traumatic brain injury that caused the complete loss of the left side of her body. Love Anthony (2012) was the story told from a very sad point of view - that of an autistic unknown boy.  Inside the O'Briens (2015) told the sad story of forty-four-year-old police officer Joe O'Brien's battle with Huntington's disease. 
And, lastly, Every Note Played (2018) was the tragic story of concert pianist Richard's devastating battle with ALS, losing more and more use of his body. 

The five titles mentioned were all fictional, and I read them after reading the nonfiction book that is the focus of this review - Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting. Until I got this ARC for review, I had not heard  of the author. Reading this book and how memory and how the brain works to remember was explored by neuroscientist Lisa Genova. I was so enthralled with this work, that I had to go back and read the fictional titles mentioned above. Ms. Genova is a highly respected expert involving the nervous system and the brain. 

With the fictional titles, various aspects of the brain and particular injuries were explored. With regard to Remember, the exploration of memory was brilliantly discussed. Things as simple as to how we often try to remember if we shut the stove off, where we put our keys, if we locked the door, etc., After a certain age, are we all victims of early Alzheimer's or dementia, or is growing forgetfullness normal? In fact, this book helps us to find ways to remember, even though we all overload our brain on a daily basis. Ms. Genova goes further in this book. She shows readers how we make memories and what we do to remember the most innocuous of things. 

Although nonfictional this did not read like a self-help book to me. Instead, it was a very good, in-depth almost conversational discussion as to how memories are formed and how we can retrieve them. In fact, sometimes our very environment can influce our ability to remember. I loved learning more about the difference between short-term memory and long-term memory. Or why we can have clear memories from certain dates in our past, but no memories of surrounding dates. I found all of this to be quite intriguing, so much so that I went and read all the books mentioned above. 

Many thanks to Harmony and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University.

Acclaimed as the Oliver Sacks of fiction and the Michael Crichton of brain science, Lisa has captured a special place in contemporary fiction, writing stories that are equally inspired by neuroscience and the human spirit. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels STILL ALICE, LEFT NEGLECTED, LOVE ANTHONY, INSIDE THE O'BRIENS, and EVERY NOTE PLAYED. 

Her first work of nonfiction, REMEMBER: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting, published March 2021, was an instant New York Times bestseller.

STILL ALICE was adapted into a film starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and 

Hunter Parrish. Julianne Moore won the 2015 Best Actress Oscar for her role as Alice Howland. Film adaptations for INSIDE THE O'BRIENS and EVERY NOTE PLAYED are in development.


  1. Great that you enjoyed Remember. It really isn't a book for me though unfortunately. Lovely review.

  2. Remember sounds like one I would enjoy as an audiobook. Great review.