Review: Remember by Patricia Smith

A riveting debut psychological thriller about the power memory has over us.

Portia Willows was a senior in high school in Los Angeles when her world fell apart. While dealing with the aftermath of the accident that took the lives of her mother and sister, she finds herself forced to face her own memory―which may not be quite what it seems. But Portia suffers from severe social anxiety disorder that prevented her from having any sort of life, while her little sister, Piper, was her best, and only, friend.

Now, five years later, Portia is forced to recall the events of the past while being questioned about a horrific crime she doesn’t remember. During those years, Portia had created a toxic, agoraphobic, life with her father, cigarettes and alcohol her only companions, unable to cope with her loss. That is, until Ethan Torke moved in across the street and changed Portia’s perspective in ways she could not possibly comprehend. But the truth always catches up with you, and fantasies never last. An unforgettable tale of memory, love, and strength through the darkest of times, Remember announces a brave new voice in psychological suspense.

Remember by Patricia Smith. Published by Agora Books, October 2019. 320pages. I received an advanced readers copy of this book, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Remember was an ok novel. Not great, but not terrible. Honestly, I didn’t really feel this was a psychological thriller at all. It was much too slow and lacked tight tension. It felt much more like a general fiction novel about mental health, loss, and addiction. It feels like the cover and the “psychological thriller” tag line made this book sound like it was going to be a lot creepier or scary then it actually was.

As a book about mental health and addiction, it was alright. At times, I could really relate to Portia’s fight with social anxiety. I thought it was great to see a main character who struggled with this sort of problem. I really applaud the author’s dedication to wanting to help others with what they are going through by writing about mental health. Our society still has way too much of a stigma attached to mental health, which is pretty sad. It is great to show characters like this in stories and to have healthy conversations about it. So, a big thumbs up about wanting to tackle that sort of subject.

There were a few small over all problems, though, that kept this book from being really good. The main one, is that Remember was just a little too predictable. Not all of it, no… but the big twist about Portia and her dad was. You could see it coming from the very beginning. Like, literally 20% in and it’s obvious. If this is your big reveal, it shouldn’t be so obvious.

Also, Something you do not want to pair up with a predictable big twist, is a slowly plodding plot. I get that the author wanted to show us what a slice of life with Portia was like… but there were just too many scenes where it felt like not a whole like was going on. A slow, slice of life pace is ok, but like I said… not when one of your big reveals is so obvious. It killed any suspense the author was trying to build with the slow burn pacing.

Remember was an ok read. Not great, but not horrible. It was kind of middle of the road for me. I do appreciate that the author is very pro talking about and getting help for mental illness. That is very cool! This was her debut novel. She has cool ideas for her book. Just tighten it up a little bit and I think she has a lot of potential for future books. I would probably read something from her again.


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