*Goodreads First-to-Read Winner Copy of the Uncorrected Proof*
It is times like this that I really wish Goodreads had a half-star option, because I'd really like to give this book 3.5 stars.
Louise: Amended is the memoir of Louise Krug, who at the age of 22 suffered a brain bleed, or a cavernous angioma. The blood put pressure on her brain stem, which caused her to have difficulty with some motor functions, as well as facial paralysis and double vision.
While it is billed as a memoir, Louise: Amended does have a certain amount of fiction to it, as the author writes from the point of view of all her family members. This constantly shifting point of view was what really didn't work for me about this book. I like stark prose, but the writing was so stark it leaned towards superficial. Louise gives us her own story, using first person pronouns, and then suddenly we're thrown into her mother or boyfriend in the third person. While not confusing, the shifts were obvious since she uses the character's first name at the beginning of almost every sentence about them, it was jarring to say the least and I just couldn't get into it.
Since the point of view shifted so much, it was hard to really build a relationship with any of the characters. Louise is self-admittedly shallow at the beginning, yet by the end I didn't really feel she had come all that far. More than half the book is about her bemoaning the state of her life and the loss of her looks and boyfriend. This might have been interesting coming from her and hearing her internal thoughts on it, but all of this is seen by other people and I found myself just as frustrated with her as they were. Things finally perk up for her when she meets her husband, yet we see very little of him and the book ends without developing him much at all.
For a memoir about struggling with sudden physical limitations, there is very little material about her recovery process. This aspect was not the main focus of the book, but I thought a little more wouldn't have hurt.
Overall, I like the concept of this book. Trying to show how tragedy impacts the entire family and not just the individual is a difficult feat. In the end though, it just didn't fully work for me. Somewhere between the constantly shifting focus and the numerous mentions of how young and pretty and blonde she used to be, Louise just didn't quite manage to reel me in.