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The Woman Who Can't Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science
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The Woman Who Can't Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science

2.91  ·  Rating details ·  815 Ratings  ·  225 Reviews
Jill Price has the first diagnosed case of a memory condition called "hyperthymestic syndrome" -- the continuous, automatic, autobiographical recall of every day of her life since she was fourteen. Give her any date from that year on, and she can almost instantly tell you what day of the week it was, what she did on that day, and any major world event or cultural happening ...more
ebook, 264 pages
Published December 9th 2008 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published January 1st 2008)
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Rating details
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Feb 26, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christa Tortorice
Jun 15, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Sep 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
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
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio, nonfiction
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
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
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
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
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book at bed time, so I probably didn't get the most out of it. The woman in this book started to have a remarkable memory of her life, when she was fourteen years old. She can remember the major events that took place on any day, and she remembers what she did on every day. That sounds like a great gift, but she explains, that she has no control over the memories that surface at any given time. That would be very difficult. Scientist studied her to help understand memory, in h ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
sepertinya aku harus lebih banyak bikin tags karena tidak cukup variatif wkwkw

yang aku suka dari buku-buku textbook psikologi dasar yang direferensikan oleh dosenku adalah buku-buku tersebut tidak hanya menerangkan teori saja, tetapi juga memaparkan fakta-fakta menarik mengenai orang-orang menarik di luar sana. biasanya dipaparkan di awal bab, sebagai kisah pembuka akan hal-hal yang berkaitan dengan bab tersebut dari segi teori. aku pertama kali mengenal nama Jill Price dari salah satu buku ters
2.5 stars
The topic here is fascinating, the delivery left a bit to be desired.

Jill Price has an extraordinary autobiographical memory, and memory and how the brain works will pull me in anytime. I have thought much on memory, I've found my own to be excessive in certain areas and what I think of as lacking in others, so some of the discussion of memory types was great. Jill can recall all the mundane as well as the fantastic in her life with incredible clarity, but struggles with rote memorizati
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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! :-)
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author's explanation of how her memory works really helped me clarify a lot of the differences in my experience of memory than that of most people I know. It was a really personally-interesting book for me, but I can understand the complaints of other readers who likely didn't have that weird personal connection with the subject matter.
Jul 01, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rebecca McNutt
An intriguing book at first glance, but at over 200 pages most of it is just one giant complaint about how difficult life is when you can remember every detail of life (I'm sure people suffering from alzheimer's and dementia would beg to differ). We don't really get to know the narrator as a person either, because she's defined herself by just her powerful memory alone and very little else.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was one of the few books that I haven’t gotten all the way through. The concept of the book is fascinating but in reading it I quickly became bored. Her life sounded pretty normal, other than she can remember everything. While I’m sure she would be super interesting to talk to in person, it just didn’t translate well into a book.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read about memory and how it defines who we are. I felt sorry for the author and I can’t imagine her nightmare. I have known many hoarders in my life and I wonder if they don’t have similar memory issues.

Good, interesting read. Made me grateful for all I remember and grateful for all I forget.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was so incredibly boring and frustrating it was an immense struggle to get through it. It would have gotten a one star rating if it weren’t for the final few chapters that I actually did enjoy.
Jane Wetzel
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Absolutely fascinating story about the positive and the negative sides of a "perfect" memory for life events. The book was well written and narrated.
It is as the blurb says - more of a biography than a scientific piece.
Anno Nomius
This was an interesting book, an autobiography of a woman who cannot forget. It was interesting to learn about her life, quite sheltered from the outside, however what was going on in the inside, inside her head was a storm or storms. Imagine vividly living through an event of your past at the slightest stimuli which remind you of that event. Imagine going through a day reminded of hundred such events. You start wondering if memory is a blessing or a curse. Memory plays a big role in our life. O ...more
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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“There is a goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne; but none of Forgetting. Yet there should be, as they are twin sisters, twin powers, and walk on either side of us, disputing for sovereignty over us and who we are. —Richard Holmes, A Meander Through Memory and Forgetting” 0 likes
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. I should have called it Something you somehow haven’t to deserve. —Robert Frost,” 0 likes
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