Can you ever really forget your first love?
The Memory Box appealed to the side of me that is an emotional wreck. I loved the blurb-the novel sounded like a real blub-fest which is exactly what I was looking for. A good cry every now and then is so cathartic and it always feels that bit safer to let emotion out from behind the cover of a book (except when you are reading on public transport. Then it just feels embarrassing. When you get those snot bubbles from gulping in too much air between pitiful sobs-surely it isn't just me?!).
A story encompassing the power of first love, The Memory Box follows Pandora Schuster at a difficult point in her life. On the cusp of turning thirty, she is tested for a hereditary family illness. This eye-opening process prompts Pandora to search for her ex-boyfriend and the father of her child, the deliciously named Frenchman Olivier Huppert. On a trip to Paris with her girl-friends, Pandora seeks Olivier but things do not turn out as she had hoped. With a heavy heart and the knowledge that her daughter will never know her father she begins to collate the memories of their relationship. Pandora's box stirs up emotions that challenge her and cause her to reassess her current life.
I found The Memory Box to be an easy read without being completely frivolous. Touching on cancer, bereavement, lost love, financial hardship and stepfamilies, there are a lot of women who will be able to relate to the many aspects of life conveyed in this book. Personally, I was especially affected by the emotionally charged letters throughout The Memory Box and that was where my eyes welled up with tears (although I managed to escape the snot bubbles, thankfully).
I did feel that Pandora's daughter, Iris, was portrayed as being much younger than her nine years. That was the only thing that really irked me about the book as I thought she came across as being much younger and I didn't find her a very believable character. However, I thought Pandora was real and likeable and I developed a bit of a literary crush on the idea of Olivier through Pandora's memories of him. Overall, I found the friendships, family complexities and especially the romance in The Memory Box engaging and would recommend it to fans of Cecelia Ahern, Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes.
The Memory Box is out today, published by Macmillan.
With thanks to Macmillan for kindly providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.