Fred's Reviews > Remembrance

Remembrance by Michelle Madow
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's review
Aug 21, 2011

really liked it

WARNING: This is not an objective review. I found the author, and the story of how she came to write and publish this, so charming that I just kind of got swept up by her and her book. Also, since I started reviewing books on Goodreads, and getting responses to those reviews from authors (thanks, it's so exciting, btw!), it's made me much more sensitive to how much authors have invested in their work, and how a thoughtless review can be hurtful to the loveliest, most creative people in the world. So, I am trying to approach things much more positively these days, and I'm not doing "objective" reviews anymore, just going with the good things. On to my actual review, thanks for putting up with that!


I remember the first time I heard "Love Story," by Taylor Swift. It seemed different for her, intense and kind of haunting, and I loved it (2,000,000 times later I admit I've lost a little of that initial enthusiasm, but hey, it's still a good song). The video that went with it was also pretty cool, and apparently Michelle Madow thought so too, because she imagined a story to go with it, which turned into this book. Here's her discussion of how that happened at her blog, btw, if your're interested: This isn't a literal retelling of the "story" of the song or the video, as the synopsis above should make clear (I never feel like bothering much with those since Goodreads/the publisher usually does a much better job than I could). To me it feels like an attempt to capture the emotions, the vibe, the atmosphere of the video in a contemporary setting (with flashbacks to Jane Austen times - yes, it's rife and replete with Pride & Prejudice references, the theme of the summer, apparently). I think it does a great job of creating that crazy feeling of being desperately in love, especially with the "wrong" person who feels so painfully right that you aren't whole without them. The characters are great. Elizabeth/Lizzie (get it, Bennett fans?) and Drew (he's the reason for the teardrops on her guitar, yes, I'm a big TSwift nerd, #sorry i'm not sorry)are so intense and dreamy that it's hard not to get caught up in their emotions. In some ways I get a little bit of a Twilight-y vibe from their relationship, that whole "I have to make you hate me because I'm not good for you" thing, but it's really not too off-putting, because it adds to the mystery and tension build up for when they finally explode together. There's lots of classic YA elements here, quasi-reincarnation, past lives getting a second chance, attraction to best friend's boyfriend, bad break-ups, throwing pebbles at the window (pinecones, this time), sneaking out to the garden to see you, all mixed up together and served fresh.

I really thought it was cool that this was written for a freshman creative writing class - it totally reminds me of the story that opens Jennifer Echols "Love Story," the one that Erin writes in her creative writing class. Weird that the name of that book is the song that inspired this one. Like I said, it's not just the story that I find so charming, it's also how it came to be, and the author's enthusiasm and brio, as she brings it to life. Kind of like Taylor Swift when she first started out (I have kind of had it with her break-up/you're so mean and I'm not songs), the sincerity, the warmth and affection for the characters and the feelings of crazy love gone wild infuse this book with that feeling that good YA books always give me, of remembering when life was so intense and every day, every incident, was full of either hope or despair, or some weird combination of the two all at once. So, I hope you like this, even if you're not a Taylor Swift fan! It's a fun, sweet and emotional ride.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Laura's Book Addiction how is it?

message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy I'm excited to read this & can't wait to see what you think.

Fred I think you will like it. Not as sophisticated as some, but fun, intense and a good page turner.

message 4: by Tammara (new)

Tammara Fred, your gentle critiques are appreciated. Yes, it's easy to get hurt feelings. SO easy. So thank you for looking for the positive. (And I'll pick this one up!) :)

message 5: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Nice review, Fred!! I completely agree about being respectful to authors!

Fred Leslie wrote: "Nice review, Fred!! I completely agree about being respectful to authors!"

Thanks Leslie! I'd never be less than honest, but I don't get the whole mean thing some people seem to have going.

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