The Reminders by Val Emmich


“There’s this idea of the phantom limb. A man who’s lost his arm still feels the arm and behaves as if the arm is intact. What I have, then, is a phantom love.”

Grief is a beast, an ugly snarling impulsive monster. When Gavin loses his beloved partner in a terrible tragedy he burns his home down. His ‘reminders’ hurt so bad, his love really is a phantom. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so shocking, how he acted out in grief if it wasn’t caught on video- not a good thing for an actor. Maybe LA isn’t the right place for him right now, maybe the only way out of this painful loss is to immerse himself in the true memories. This is where Joan Sully comes in, the daughter of his old friend, he just doesn’t know it yet.

Our memories are flawed, they never playback in our heads quite right. We exaggerate, omit, edit every second whether we mean to or not. For Joan, she couldn’t forget nor edit her memories if she wished to. Joan’s ability is to remember everything with perfect clarity, it has it’s ups and downs. A gift, a curse- depends on who you ask. To remember life in such exact measurement that you correct other’s stories (memories) can be annoying and beautiful. She holds the treasure of Sydney, remembering him in such a way no one else can that nearly brings him alive for heartbroken Gavin. For these details, Gavin is going to help Joan win her local songwriting contest. Joan’s reason for wanting to win is beyond beautiful, songwriter’s are not forgotten.

In a family where a child cannot forget, how devastating to have a loved one, a grandmother that cannot remember. People remember music, songs! When her grandmother started disappearing through Alzheimer’s it set off a fear that one day she too can be forgotten by anyone. She knows others remember wrong, and through her grandmother witnessed the devastation of true ‘forgetting’, even forgetting oneself. Music will be her saving grace, no one forgets famous singers! Even in the depths of disease, people can hum to songs! Songs are catchy, moving, they make us feel things. We don’t forget songs.

The Reminders is beautiful for anyone, and sometimes you just need a heartfelt story. Our loved ones live on in the hearts of those left behind but so much is lost, we don’t all have Joan’s ability. We don’t remember every detail of our time spent with them, just a kaleidoscope of moments that branded themselves into our minds. We can’t even remember the scenery as perfectly as we wish.  It’s a story about moving on as well as remembering. It’s never enough, there is never closure, not really. When we slowly come too, lifted out of the fog of mourning, we understand things better and sometimes it takes another to help us see clearly all the things we were oblivious to.

A beautiful story for the summer. Add this to your list of books to read in 2017.

Public Release Date: May 30, 2017

Little, Brown and Company



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