Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review and Giveaway: The Art of Forgetting

The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan

Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Hardcover, 304pp
ISBN-13: 9780525952190
ISBN: 0525952195

(Received for review from Dutton)

Camille Noe Pagan on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from The Art of Forgetting

Synopsis (Book Jacket):

Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar.

And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory - dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago - Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken.

With the help of a dozen girls she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future.

The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and myths that hold us back, and the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.


Debut author Camille Noe Pagan brings readers a tale of friendship tested by debilitating injury. The Art of Forgetting is the story of a young woman who was content to stand in the shadows of her more confident and outgoing friend, until her friend suffers a traumatic brain injury and changes completely. Readers will love the emotional journey that Pagan takes them on in this book. With multi-layered characters and a plot that is all about growing and becoming who you are meant to be, readers will find this the perfect summer read.

Julia was always the one in the spotlight, while Marissa plodded along, working tirelessly in the background. Friends since childhood, Julia and Marissa are inseparable, almost to the point of addiction. It is almost as if they need each other to survive. When Julia, a dancer is hit by a cab and sustains a life-changing, traumatic brain injury, Marissa is left to fend for herself. Not only is Julia not the confident and absorbing young woman Marissa is used to, her personality is dramatically different. In the wake of Julia's injury Marissa must learn confidence and pride in herself as she tries to rebuild or build a new friendship with Julia. Many years ago Julia talked Marissa into dumping her boyfriend Nathan and she is now determined to get them back together. Will their friendship survive? Will Marissa find a future with a man from her past?

Camille Noe Pagan uses her experience as a health writer to her advantage with this book. She took a case of Traumatic Brain Injury she had heard about in her work and turned it into an idea for a novel. And what a brilliant idea it was. She also uses her knowledge of fitness and health to provide a platform for one character to grow and become more confident in herself. It is obvious that the author did a lot of research on the topics in this book and it gives the book an authentic and believable feel. Traumatic Brain Injury isn't something I think the average reader is familiar with in great detail and I thought the author did a wonderful job of bringing information about it to the forefront.

Marissa is an interesting character. She, like many people, preferred not to be the center of attention. She left that to her best friend, Julia. Marissa comes across in the beginning of the novel as timid and not very confident in herself and the reader learns that Marissa's mother may have contributed to this. She is a weight-obsessed woman who certainly never provided her daughter opportunities to build self-esteem. Throughout the book, after Julia's injury, Marissa starts to grow and change and when she takes on a project preparing young girls to run a 5K her confidence starts to build. It is nice to see the changes that Marissa goes through in the novel. As a character she grows a lot and uses the knowledge she gains to help Julia.

I found it very interesting the changes in Julia from before and after the accident. In the beginning Julia as self-confident and to an extent overpowering and full of herself. Her actions were not always the best, she like Marissa was definitely flawed. But after the accident she changes completely and not all for the bad. Though the injury was horrific in the end the person she becomes may be the better of the two personalities. I thought the author did an amazing job of showing the changes that a friendship goes through over the years and what a strain something like this could put on friends. I was glad that Marissa was willing to try to work through the changes and difficulties and still remain friends with Julia. That took courage in my opinion.

I liked this novel and thought the plot was fantastic. But there were moments that felt a little stiff. Like the characters were not as realistic as they could have been, but they were few and far between. There is some humor in the book that I think readers will appreciate and anyone who loves stories about friendships will love this one. It would make a great vacation read or lazy Sunday afternoon read. I recommend it to my readers who love books about women and women's friendships and issues. The relationship with Nathan is almost secondary to the relationship between Marissa and Julia. I don't think I would consider it a romance, but there are hints of that in the storyline.

The Art of Forgetting is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Camille Noe Pagan's work has appeared in dozens of national publications and websites such as
Glamour, Self, Fitness, Women's Health and many others. She lives with her family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway one copy of The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan

~ You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~ US addresses only! (Publisher Request)
~ The Deadline for entering this giveaway is Midnight EST June 23.

1. Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


StephTheBookworm said...

I love books about friendships and have been dying to read this!

karenk said...

would love to read this novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

SueFitz said...

Looks like a great book

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I have been wanting to read this book.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This looks so good! I had to stop in and tell you that you won one of the packages from the blogiversary...s till finishing up post but it will be up in about 5 minutes :)

Mona said...

Thanks for the giveaway :)
I also enjoy books about female friendships. And discovering new authors is always great. I love the premise and cover of this book.

GFC(Mona Garg)


Oh -- congrats on your win from BookJourney!

Carol N Wong said...

I love to read about friendships between women and would like to see how Marissa takes the role reversal.


Patti P said...

Thanks please enter me

musicalfrog at comcast dot net

Unknown said...

I've been seeing your book quite a bit in blogland. Looking forward to reading it for myself.

onebookshy at yahoo dot com

Anita Yancey said...

Great review. Sounds like a very interesting and touching book. I'd enjoy reading this one. Thanks for having this giveaway.