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“Amor fati . . . the direct translation is ‘love fate.’ Nietzsche said it was the formula for happiness. . . He said you have to love your fate, all aspects of it, good, bad, and ugly. You have to love everything that has ever happened in your life. You don’t try to forget it. You embrace it, whatever it is, all the time,” Dr. Erika Sweet. –Remember Me
by Estelle Laure
Diverse Characters, Must Read, Strong Female
The day before her seventeenth birthday, Blue Owens wakes up feeling like something is wrong. Her memories are hazy, and everything seems vaguely familiar, yet so foreign. Her friends and family are acting weird and suspicious, tiptoeing around her, as if she will fall and break at any minute. Blue explains, “You ever get the feeling something’s going on and you don’t know what it is?”
In the back of her closet, she finds a strange note that reads: meet me on the little blue bus at 7:45. Blue has no idea who wrote the note or any idea why someone would want to meet her. But she only has one day to decide what she’s going to do.
Following her gut, Blue gets on the little blue bus at 7:45 and meets Adam, who seems like a stranger. But as they talk and connect, she is flooded with familiarity; it is as if they have always known each other. Because they have. Adam hesitantly explains that they have dated since the tenth grade. “In fact,” he says, they’ve “done everything together for two years.” Blue discovers that she “canceled” Adam, and chose to erase him from her memory.
Realizing what she has done, Blue sets out to recover her memories and figure out why she “canceled” them. As she explores deeper into her past, she is faced with painful memories. Should Blue leave her forgotten memories in the past? Should she bring her memories back and experience her grief all over again?
Set ten years in the future, Remember Me mixes sci-fi and mystery elements with a story about grief and finding yourself. While Blue is a determined, independent, and brave young woman, she is also broken and imperfect, as she is dealing with great tragedies. After Blue’s sister’s tragic death, Blue spirals into a deep depression, waking up “most days [wishing she was] dead.” Blue’s friends and family begin to worry, as she becomes detached, irritable, and overly spontaneous. Blue must decide if she wants to erase all memories of her sister, finding a supposed cure to her pain, or spiral further, hoping one day she will wake up “and be [the] kind of person who glows and has goals and a self that doesn’t torture them.”
In the end, rather than truly canceling her past, Blue learns to live with her grief. Although “it still hurt[s] whenever” she thinks of her sister, as these memories can “break [her] apart,” Blue is able to “come back together” and be whole. She comes to terms with her past and realizes that memories of her sister, for better or for worse, are still a part of her and make her who she is.
Remember Me is best for mature readers, as it deals with topics like depression, suicide, death, and grief. It also delves into the effects of divorce on children. Furthermore, it has an explicit sex scene and substantial use of profanity. Overall, Remember Me, is a must-read, with a diverse cast of characters, a strong female lead, and an interesting plot. The story discusses the difficulties of grieving and losing someone you love. Plus, it highlights the importance of learning to live with the painful events of your past and accepting them as a part of who you are.
- Blue’s friends, Turtle and Jack, are dating and “in love.” They often act intimate with each other in front of others.
- Turtle is practicing for a play and has to make out with Kevin, a boy who is gay and uncomfortable kissing a girl. While practicing for the show the two struggle to connect. The teacher who is directing their practice has Turtle and her partner Jack (who is also in show choir) kiss to show them how it’s done. “Kevin is watching, uncomfortably, from the side. Jack leans forward slowly, pulling Turtle flush against their own body, and they melt into a deep kiss.”
- In eighth grade, Blue kissed Jacobo Mancini. Blue “let him put his hands in my bikini bottoms. I remember playing a game where I was supposed to be in the closet with Calvin Locus and we were supposed to spend six minutes in there and we didn’t come out for a much longer time.”
- While riding the bus with Adam, Blue thinks that she does not “remember kissing [him]. . . my body does. My body positively writhes with knowing.”
- After reuniting, Blue and Adam kiss. “Our lips touch and he presses the middle of my back toward him. I feel like an elevator falling up.” Later, their families pull them apart, Blue thinks “out of nowhere I’m back in that kiss, in the breathlessness that took me over.”
- Blue thinks about sex. She thinks, “I’m not so much thinking about sex per se, like me having it but I am thinking about the idea of sex, or why people want to have it.” She then imagines her and Adam together. “And it’s not like I want to have sex with him right away or something. . . But I would like to kiss him. Very much I would like that. I wouldn’t mind running my hands over the skin under his shirt, feeling his breath on my neck, his fingertips on my belly.”
- Blue notes that her friend lives in the older part of town, in a crumbling building where you “can hear their neighbors having sex when they’re trying to go to sleep.”
- When Blue and Adam first began to date, they spent “hours and hours on end” kissing. Then “the shirts came off. We spent about a month like that . . . then pants got inched down and finally off.” The two become sexually intimate with each other. Blue recounts a moment when Adam had “his head between my legs” for the first time.
- Before she cancels him, Blue visits Adam for what is supposed to be the last time. The two kiss. Adam “opens his mouth and it’s hot when he nips at my lips. It’s not a sexy kiss so much as a communication . . . an apology.”
- Ten years into the future, there is an “international epidemic” of suicide, especially among young people.
- There is a bridge in Blue’s town that “people throw themselves off… all the time, and it’s been getting worse.” One instance causes the whole community to come together, when “Taylor Strong chucked himself off the edge”of the bridge.
- When Blue arrives at the beach, she sees Adam and explains “my throat drops into my toes… He has V draped across his arm and is swimming ferociously toward the shore. She is limp, head hanging backward, neck tilted back and exposed like she’s offering herself up to the sky.” She imagines V swam “straight to the spot where Dad told us not to go, swims out there vowing to prove that we all underestimate her. She swims straight into a riptide, gets pulled under, flails and kicks but the riptide is too strong for her. She’s carried away screaming when she reaches the surface, until she can’t fight anymore…. By the time the ambulance comes, I am as gone as V… My sister is dead.”
- After her sister dies, Blue explains “most days when I wake up I wish I were dead.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- On her fifteenth birthday, Blue gets drunk. She explains that she “didn’t mean to get drunk but [she’s] such a lightweight that even though [she] only took a couple of sips” she was drunk.
- Blue attends a party with her friends and drinks.
- Blue observes the “worst my parents do is smoke joints out back after they think I’m asleep.”
- After her parents’ divorce Blue wonders if her father is hooking up with “one of those rafting girls he works with, sturdy, beer-drinking, tan, young.”
- Blue’s father explains to Blue before she was born, he “drank too much beer and cursed.”
- Profanity is used often. Profanity includes shit, fuck, bitch, ass, and pussy.
- Blue and her grandmother attend a funeral. As they walk into the church, Gran “makes the sign of the cross twice, once as we pass the Lady of Guadalupe statue in the courtyard and again when we stumble over the threshold into the actual church.”
- Blue describes the funeral service. “A priest says some things about Jesus. . . I just listen[ed] to the prayers, the talk of God having a place in heaven for Arturo, the God will look over his wife and his children, that Arturo is free now.”