Book Review: Forget Yourself by Redfern Jon Barrett


This book was a little “out there” for me, but I gave it my best shot.

Here is the synopsis from amazon:

“It is important that you know: I love you.
Of course I have no idea who you are.
But I have no real idea who I am either, so it seems fair to me.”

Blondee lives in a world without memories: just four walls, fifty huts and a hundred forgotten people. She came in with the food rations. Mind and body naked, like everyone. Now she lives in a triangular hut at the edge of everything. They say she was a thief — she has long fingers — and she certainly has a reputation for taking multiple lovers. But haunted by the ghost of a fat man and dreaming of a stone woman, Blondee knows she can reshape the world — she just needs to get the world to listen…

I had no clue what I was in for.  I’m still not sure that I figured out the entire book.  But I do know that Mr. Barrett’s style is very unique.

The main character lives in a world without memories.  They just show up with the rations every few weeks.  They are named based on their appearance or personality.  Think “Tanned” “Frederick” (it was written on his shorts), “Fluff”.  They have no recollection of who they were, where they are and how they got there.

The original members of this place decided that this must be a punishment for something bad.  They begin to classify arriving people by what they think their transgression was.  The least, minor, moderate, severe.

This classification translates into a better standard of living.  Being part of a couple, regardless of sexual orientation, is also a ticket to a better life.  The “least” are deemed as committing a crime that hurt no one.  They are first to pick rations, first to use the “book” and have better homes.

The “book” is also fascinating as well.  They have a blank book and everyone writes things down that they “think” they remember from the outside world. Things like “people go to casinos, where they play games for money.  Alcohol is served.”  The book is sacred.

The main character, Blondee, has a hut.  Her lover just left her.  And she has never had a memory.

The reader experiences this world through her experiences.  Her interactions, her sensations.

I enjoyed learning about this place from her.  Mr. Barrett does an amazing job in transporting the reader directly to this wasteland and engages all senses.

I particularly enjoyed how Blondee “changed the world” after she found a magazine depicting life on the outside.  I often make fun of these publications, and it was extremely entertaining to read how Blondee began teaching the others about how life should be based on reading a bridal magazine.

I was confused, however, with the multiple views from different people toward the end of the book.  It was unclear who was speaking, if they were all the same person (like multiple personality) or if the entire world was all in Blondee’s head.

It fascinated me to read about how the world came about.  A bit of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.  A bit of corporate greed.

I think that the book would be more clear, more powerful if the lives of the people they were before were introduced in the beginning and followed throughout.

This book definitely made me think.  More so than most of the other books I have read this past year.

I do want to make a note that there are some heavy sexual elements in this book.  Not appropriate for teenagers and those who are traditionalists.

Overall, an intriguing read.  Recommended to those who enjoy a bit of a challenge.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rashawn
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 13:48:17

    Your review of this book that seemed “out there” to you was absolutely awesome. The theme is fascinating and reminds me of a sci-fi spin on 50 first dates, one of my favorite movies. So I am definitely picking up this read.


    • Mommabel
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 19:04:30

      Awesome!! I’m always up for reading something “out there” and this book kept me turning the pages…figuratively speaking of course..


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