Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What I Remember Most; Cathy Lamb


Kensington - 2014

What I Remember Most was a terrific story and one that kept me wondering as I eagerly turned each page.  Part mystery, part contemporary fiction, the only thing that the reader knows for sure is that the protagonist, Grenadine Scotch Wild, had a horrible childhood and as an adult her life is still unsettled.

Something happened to both of Grenadine's parents when she was only six years old, She became lost in a failed foster care system with numerous placements -- some more horrible than the one before. The one comfort through all her turmoil was her love and talent for art. As an adult she married a user who implicated her in a white-collar scheme.  With bank accounts frozen, she flees a comfortable lifestyle with just a few hundred dollars and her car full of clothes and a few personal items, desperate to start a new life even if it means living in her car for a while.

As the story progresses the reader learns pieces of her past through DCYF case worker reports, and also more about her marriage and her reasons for fleeing.  There is also brief references to some crazed individual who writes short, disturbing nursery rhymes. Grenadine is such a well developed character. She is a strong woman who was easy to root for based on her resilience and what she had been through. Even the minor characters in this novel were interesting.

At first I thought the cover did not seem to fit the story, but as I read and saw how important painting and drawing was to the protagonist's life, it made perfect sense.  This book is definitely worth reading, if you don't mind a little sadness your fiction, especially when you read some of the case worker's notes.  I liked how the story came together at the end as well.

4.5/5 stars
(kindle purchase)

A few quotes I jotted down ---

  • "We laughed the type of laugh you laugh when you want to cry and fear has its claws in you and is pulling you down but your keeping your chin up and holding it together because if you don't, you'll be flat wiped out."
  • "It was one of those moments in life where you have to stop. You have to put aside the problems, all the stress, all the worries, and be in the moment.  Be happy. Be grateful. Be glad to be alive."
  • "You don't know how much you need a mother nagging over you until you don't have it."

10 comments:

  1. Great review of this book.

    Tales of folks dealing with dark and somewhat mysterious childhoods are somewhat common, but in the right hands can yield such interesting stories and characters.

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  2. Yes Brian it is a common theme, but this one had great character development and I loved that all the loose threads came together at the end,

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  3. Wow, it sounds like Grenadine's had a rough life. What's sad is that's true for a lot of people.

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  4. This book has been on a table right by my computer-- for quite some time. I've not picked it up. And I've been in a reading slump lately--- Now I think I'll grab it and give it a try!

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  5. This book sounds really interesting. Great review!

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  6. That sounds good and we liked the quotes!

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  7. Nice review, Diane. I remember seeing this one when it first came out--based on your feedback I'd like to read it.

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  8. This book sounds interesting. I am reading a rather dark memoir today, Lit by Mary Karr.

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