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The Woman Who Can't Forgetthe Extraordinary Story Of Living With The Most Remarkable Memory Known To Science: A Memoir

2.87 of 5 stars 2.87  ·  rating details  ·  623 ratings  ·  185 reviews
Jill Price cannot forget anything. Ask her what she had for breakfast on any given day in 1970, and she'll tell you. She'll even tell you the major news events for that day. In this astonishing memoir, she shares what it's like to possess the most exhaustively studied memory in the history of science.
Audio CD (unabridged), 6 pages
Published 2008 by Recorded Books
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Christa
It's a W.O.T. (Waste of Time)

Jill Price has an incredible memory which since early childhood - she can tell you what she had for lunch on June 3rd, 1984. OK. That's amazing, but this is a magazine article stretched over 250 pages, and after page 15 my optimism was the only thing keeping me turning those pages.
Abby
This book sounded like it could have been awesome, but it wasn't. Maybe if the lady with amazing memory had done something exciting, like use her skills to decode secret terrorist mission orders for the CIA, it would have been worth reading. But unfortunately, she's just a normal nice lady who remembers everything, and does nothing interesting at all.

I will summarize the book (or the first half, because I admit to only reading that much and skimming the end) for those who have it on their to-rea
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skein
Jun 12, 2009 skein rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ange
Shelves: non-fiction, 2-star
Mrs. Price seems to define herself by only her remarkable memory, which turns out to be far, far less interesting than it seems. Her ability to remember (or: inability to forget) is a constant intruder.
Unfortunately, the book is a dull read. She spends half her time complaining of what a torment it is to remember everything and the other half reflecting on how scary & awful it must be for the normals who forget things.
"Oh," she laments, "if I could teach myself to remember only the happy t
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Cherie
Whoa. What a fascinating story!

Price has a superior memory. Her autobiographical memory allows her to remember everything in her life since about age 8, and a lot more about her life before age 8 than most people can. She can tell you what day of the week any date falls upon. She can tell you what she had for lunch on any given date. She corrects datebooks.

It all sounds cool and amazing. But with her entire life replaying in her head at all times, Price had trouble in school and couldn't memori
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John
Others have criticized this one as too many details of her life, and not enough science, but I found the book interesting; it's a memoir explaining the situation from Price's point-of-view, not an Oliver Sachs-type medical analysis. At times, it did read a bit like "What I did on my summer vacation", but the narrator does a good job of inflection and highlighting to "show" emotion, where in print I'd say the story would seem choppy.
Recommended with moderate enthusiasm for those who enjoy memoir
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Jessica McReaderpants
*Spoiler Alert*
This book was a scientific dissapointment. I had wanted more science and information and less "I suffer from lots of memories". A quick read, this woman seems to suffer from hoarding as well. I am saddened by her non compliant husbands death. All in all this should be touted more as a biography with little scientific content.
drowningmermaid
Interestingly, I think it takes a different kind of memory from the kind that Jill Price possesses to write an engaging narrative. The kind of memory she has is very specific: she can and does relive flashes of her life constantly, vividly and without any real control. BUT she has difficulty with rote memorization.

And a great deal of book-writing IS rote memorization. You have to know what you've already said, and make sure you only say it once. Price seems to forget, chapter by chapter, what sh
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Melissa
This autobiography is part memoir, part scientific case study, and part drama. The story is presented mostly chronologically and the author, Jill Price, opens her heart to the reader. She honestly details her stuggles through childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. At time times her recollections seemed tedious and rather ordinary, just challenges that normal people face. The difference is her inability to forget and move on.

Before this book I never really appreciated my "poor" memory, now I
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Beth
Show, don't tell! Show, don't tell! The mantra of writing teachers everywhere is being shouted to the rooftops while reading this book.

Though not boring or horribly written, Price still manages to frustrate me with passages like:

“Packing up all of my artifacts was one of the most grueling and emotionally depleting experiences of my life.”

Again, please show us what you mean by that. Give us some examples rather than just moving on to the next thought. So much of the book is written in this manner
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I knew this book wasn't going to be the greatest, but I gave it a quick read just for whatever I could glean from it. It's written in a fairly simple style, so it's easy to whip through. There was a little bit of interesting information about how the rest of us store (or don't store) and retrieve memories.

This is really just this woman's autobiography told from the perspective of how her unusual memory has influenced her life and relationships. She's obsessed with the past and fearful about the
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Sarah
To be honest, I only listened to one of 6 discs. Even that was overly long.

She explained and re-explained and re-re-explained her condition. The first disc alone had more than one list of dates and things she'd done on those dates. This was not particularly meaningful as I have no evidence it was accurate. And while it was interesting to learn that the memories are so vivid she experiences the same physical reaction to the emotions she did at the time, I don't think I needed to be told that mor
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Karenclifford61
I initially believed a strong memory would be a blessing but after listening to this book I now realize the curse of reliving all moments of life - especially those I'd prefer to forget.

It would be horrible to not be able to live in the moment and Jill Price's obsessive need to document/remember is something I would not want to live with.
Chris
Of mild interest but I felt it became quite boring to hear a lot about her somewhat mundane life events e.g. on 17 Dec 1985 I went with my mother to the shop and .... on 23 April 1994 I got a phone call from the doctor at 9am .... on new years day of 1981 I was surprised by my fathers call .... etc etc over and over and over) rather than about the 'condition' itself.

She repeats what she did on particular days (none specifically interesting or abnormal in terms of regular persons lives) over and
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Lisa
I enjoy nonfiction and I enjoy reading about how the brain works. I wish this book had contained more about the brain and a little less about what the author watched on TV on Mar. 9, 1995. However, because the topic, remarkable memory, is so interesting, this book is worth reading. Just read fast when the story gets too detailed about things that don't matter.
She loves writing a journal about her daily simple activities and elaborating about it in the book. I had to wonder if she would be the ty
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Laura
Jill's condition is incredible to think about and she does a good job of explaining what it is like for her on a psychological level to never forget not only events, but also to feel now what she felt at the time they occurred. The neuroscience and psychological issues touched upon are fascinating. (It's really hard to "grow up" when you are constantly re-feeling all the emotions of your childhood and adolescence!) However, I found the repetition in the book irritating and the amount of time she ...more
Joy H.
I borrowed the audio version of this book from the library and am listening to it when I drive in the car. It's an intriguing story which gives some interesting insights as to how our memory works. It describes the many different kinds of memory we store in our brains.

Didn't finish listening. Author gave too many details about her life and not enough about the way the memory works inside the brain, although she did explain a few things. Her life's details were too boring to continue listening to
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Sandra
Loving this book! Just got it yesterday & am about half way finished. First time I am finding out about someone with a mind similar to mine! Got to get back to reading it, now. If you do or don't have a detailed memory like us is it valuable to read; for one thing it will explain what I am like inside my head! I highly recommend it to anyone who knows me! :-)
Brooke
Not only does she have an exceptional memory, she also has some real hoarding issues. What I thought might be a revelatory tale was actually just pitiable and sad. Not recommended.
Paul Pessolano
Jill Price has not been able to forget anything that has happened to her since she was around 5 years of age. Not only can she not forget but the scenes of her life continually play in her mind. Her life is played back in he mind haphaazardly with no continuity in regards to time, place, or situation. However, if she hears someone mention a date, song, or event, her mind will play back what happened in he life on that date, or when she heard that song, or what happened when that event occurred.

S
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David
I read this book as an audiobook CD set. It was not read by the author, Jill Price, herself. This was a fascinating account by a woman who is still living and who has a most remarkable ability: she can recall the days of her lives in extremely vivid and excruciating detail. For example, if you ask her, what were you doing on March 4, 1992, she will tell you immediately what day of the week that was, what the day was like, and in great detail what she did that day. Along with this reportage goes ...more
Jena
Yeah, this is a true story about this chick who has hyperthymestic syndrome, a name that was invented especially for her because she's the only one they know of that has it. She has a continuous, automatic autobiographical recall of every day of her life from age 14 on. You can ask her what happened on May 18, 1980, and not only does she know that Mount St. Helens erupted but she also knows that she went with her friend Sarah to get an ice cream cone and watched the episode of Archie Bunker wher ...more
Daniel Solera
This is a memoir about a woman whose memory has been diagnosed as the "most remarkable memory according to science". The title alone was enough to pique my interest. I have always had a slight fascination with memory and the concepts of remembering and forgetting. This memoir follows Jill Price and the development of her perfect memory - as of 1982, she remembers every detail of every day; every conversation, every TV show, every nuance in people's faces as they speak to her.

The real meat of the
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Nancy
I listened to this and found it pretty remarkable. I am suddenly grateful for my "forgetfulness" since this woman can remember everyday of her life since she was like 4 years old. As she put it, imagine being able to remember every conversation, every word said in anger- both to you and from you to others, every fight, every heartache as if it just happened. When given tests by neurologists to assess her memory, she could go back and tell them exactly what she did on every Easter that she could ...more
Megan Palasik
This book was interesting. It was not quite what I expected. I guess it's worth pointing out that, as stated in the long title, this is a memoir. If you pick up this book expecting it to be about memory or the brain, then put it back down.

This is the story of Jill and her remarkable memory. While having the ability to remember everything that ever happened to you in minute detail sounds great to some, living with it sounds like a different story. Jill can remember everything that has ever happen
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Andrew
It's ironic that “The Woman Who Can't Forget”, a memoir of a woman who is literally incapable of forgetting the events of her life, is such a forgettable book. Although it has a worthwhile moments, this book was a disappointment. The writing is passable but not particularly exciting, and the few moments that arouse the reader's emotions quickly pass. Fortunately it's a short book, so an interested reader can read it and then probably never think about it again.

Jill Price has a memory so beyond t
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Ashley
The Woman Who Can't Forget had the potential to be a great book, but it was ultimately forgettable. I felt like I was reading the life of someone coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, not the life of someone coping with remembering everything of her life.

The structure of the book was what hurt it the most. She explained what it was like to get her nerve up to call the doctor, then the first couple of chapters were about her memory and other memory disorders and discussing the idea of the im
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Melissa
Jun 30, 2008 Melissa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in memory, savants, brain science
OK, so I finally finished it. The details of her life got a little boring...they were very much like my own. Pretty ordinary in some spots.

I found myself wondering if I had this condition, if I wouldn't just get a psychiatrist to prescribe me some anxiety meds. Honestly! I've taken them before for scary thoughts entering into my head, and they worked great! I don't mean to make light or make fun of her experience, I respect her very much. But there's only so much one person can take.

***********
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David
hard to improve upon the full title as a description of the topic. A fascinating (to me) aspect of her phenomenal memory is that it's entirely autobiographical and episodic -- that is, she can remember the day of the week and what she had for breakfast on a randomly selected day from 1986 as though it were this morning, but she is no better than average at, say, deliberately memorizing a poem or a set of algebraic formulae or any other new information.

Interesting sub-plot concerns her being the
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John Alt
In an old vaudeville routine, a comedian asks his straight man, "Who was the lady you were with at 7:18 pm on the night of July 23, 1903?" to which the straight man scratches his head, looks puzzled at the audience, then answers, "That was no lady. That was my wife."

The audience laughed partly because of the improbability of remembering specifics on an exact date and time, and partly because of the unexpected reply.

Maybe Jill Price would not know what happened at an exact time but she can recall
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Jennifer
I was inspired to read this book after hearing about Price's condition. I was amazed by what little I knew of her, and did a search for "inability to forget" to find more information. That's also how I found this book.
The Woman Who Can't Forget leaves something to be desired in the quality of writing, but Price warns as much in the prologue: her condition makes it impossible for her to create her own personal story of highs and lows--instead, she remembers everything chronologically, regardless
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