Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch — 320 pgs

Nell Slattery has survived a horrific plane crash but due to the accident, she has a severe case of amnesia. As the press hovers around her and the only other survivor, a famous actor named Anderson, Nell suspects that her family is not being open and honest about her life before the crash. Nell, though, is starting to discover that her pre-crash personality was one of studied aloofness and harsh judgement. When she gives full access to one reporter to dig into her past and surface with the answers she’s looking for, she gets more than she bargained for. As Nell and Anderson grow closer, she also grows more and more estranged from both her mother, a woman who seems to be guiding her into dangerous waters, and her sister, Rory, whose anger and jealousy threaten to destroy the progress that Nell is making. As Nell slowly begins to remember her past with the help of a music playlist that her sister put together for her, painful and devastating secrets rise to the surface. When a particularly vicious reporter gathers a tidbit of information about Nell’s old life that pushes her over the edge, she makes an escape with Anderson to finally put all the pieces of her life back in order. In this emotionally charged and powerful novel, Allison Winn Scotch slowly fills in the blanks of a life that was forgotten in an instant.

There seem to be a plethora of books out about memory loss at the moment, but Winn Scotch makes her story unique with the inclusion of a devastating plane crash that suddenly deletes Nell’s memory and leaves Anderson with mental scars as well. Though the actual crash isn’t covered in the narrative, there are some flashbacks to the incident and some very real fears and problems that crop up because of it. Nell’s memory loss isn’t the only injury she sustains and, due to the physical trauma she suffered, she spends a tremendous amount of time in the hospital trying to heal, and becoming closer to Anderson.

Nell is confused at what her life has become. For instance, there’s something eerily wrong with the way she feels towards her husband, Peter. When it’s revealed that their marriage was on the rocks, Nell feels even more awkward and uncertain and feels that he’s hiding something from her. Nell’s mother is aiding and abetting this situation in a terribly manipulative way, and even Rory, her sister, lacks the empathy that is normal between family members. The truth is that I found Nell’s family to be pretty repugnant and horrible. They’re all hiding things from her and they spend their time tricking her and being emotionally unavailable to her. All Nell needs is for someone to take her under their wing and tell her the truth but there’s nobody to do that for her and it’s heartbreaking.

Anderson is alive because, at the last minute, Nell saved his life, which created a bond between them that nothing can break . It was extremely gratifying for me to see that there was someone in Nell’s life who was willing to toe the line for her and give her the time and space she needed to come back to herself. Things are mostly platonic between them due to some unintended circumstances that Anderson has involved himself in, but as time passes, Nell begins to lean on Anderson more and more. She’s able to get from him the love and care that her family seems unable to give her. He is solid and true, and in her life, Nell finds that he is about the only one she can really trust.

As Nell navigates backwards into her memory, troubling memories begin to surface that revolve around her long absent father. He is a reclusive artist who left the family years before and he has a hidden secret that Nell feels she must uncover. Nell has always felt close to her father and because they share the same artistic sentiments she feels that she can somehow find him and compel him to be part of her life. What she finds instead will shake her to the core and make her family’s betrayal all the more irreversible and complete. I really felt for Nell throughout the entire book. Though she was strong and definitely resilient, there was a great deal of hypocrisy and emotional sabotage going on around her. It was hard to read through her struggles without feeling as if there was a sore spot in my heart for this girl who fell out of the sky and into a huge mess.

This is a darker read than what I had been expecting but it was expertly crafted and really took me into the heart and mind of its protagonist. I can’t say that everything wrapped up neatly at the end because there were some situations that were left open and raw, but the book ends on a hopeful note of strength and completion that I found to be vindicating in the end. It was the kind of read that, while angering, still fosters hope and sympathy, and I enjoyed it a great deal. This book would be perfect for those readers who love a good family drama that is chock full of dysfunction but still ensnares with a wonderful protagonist.

Author Photo About the Author

Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of Time of My Life. A former freelance magazine writer, she has written for Glamour, Parents, and Men's Health. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two children. To learn more about Allison Winn Scotch, please visit www.allisonwinn.com.

TLC Book Tours A warm thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing this book for me to read and review. Please continue to follow the tour by visiting these other blogs:

Tuesday, March 27th:Well Read Wife
Wednesday, March 28th:DBC Reads
Thursday, March 29th:Colloquium - Guest Post
Tuesday, April 3rd:Amused by Books
Wednesday, April 4th:Chick Lit is Not Dead – Guest Post
“5 Things I’d Tell the Teen Me”
Thursday, April 5th:Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, April 9th: Library of Clean Reads
Tuesday, April 10th:Reading with Martinis
Wednesday, April 11th:A Musing Reviews
Thursday, April 12th:Reviews from the Heart
Monday, April 16th:Books Distilled
Tuesday, April 17th:She Treads Softly
Wednesday, April 18th:Suko’s Notebook
Wednesday, April 18th:Raging Bibliomania
Thursday, April 19th:Chick Lit Reviews and News
Monday, April 23rd:I Am A Reader, Not A Writer – Author Q&A
Tuesday, April 24th:Books Distilled
Wednesday, April 25th:All Grown Up?

This book was provided as a complimentary review copy.


Suko said...

Excellent review, and very different from mine, although we share some of the same feelings about this book. :)

bermudaonion said...

I've read mixed reviews of this book - maybe because things aren't wrapped up in the end? I do love to read dysfunction so I'll have to give the book a try.

Harvee said...

A theme of amnesia and subsequent confusion by the protqagonist - the first book I( read with this theme was What Alice Forgot. This one sounds darker but my appetite is teased.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I really like the books that have amnesia/reevaluation themes. It's a way to start over I guess! Excellent review!

Jennifer | Mrs Q Book Addict said...

I'm glad that you enjoyed this one. I'm happy to read that the book is still unique despite the memory loss theme.

Anonymous said...

I love the premise of this one. Call me morbid, but plane crashes draw me into a book! I have heard good things about Winn Scotch too. Great review!

Ti said...

I groaned at the mention of a plane crash...then I groaned again at the memory loss. Why are there so many books about memory loss these days?

I have to admit, that I was happy to hear that it did not wrap up neatly. That would have been too perfect.

Jenners said...

This sounds so appealing for some reason. It makes me want to read it! Thanks … it is going on the list! Wonderful review.

Brooke said...

I know plane crashes are sort of cliche to most people, but my family has suffered the effects of such a devastating crash and its aftermath so this story really catches my eye. Great review!

Audra said...

Nice review -- I passed on this because I'm so over amnesia fic right now, but this sounds kind of good -- although I cannot stand the cover. It makes my eyes bleed!

Unknown said...

A great review that has me rethinking my decision not to read this book. I feel like memory loss, major accidents and even playlists are popping up in every other book recently. The dysfunction, manipulative mother and all the secrets are intriguing but I also feel a little over-whelmed because there is so much going on in this book. Nobody is just a good friend or a supportive sinling. Even Anderson is a famous actor! I like that not everything was wrapped up nicely with a big bow at the end.

Buried In Print said...

It's funny how literary trends move; at one time, it was all about the memories that characters do have, but now it does seem more common for books to be about the memories that characters *don't* have. I'm not sure I'd be a good reader for this book, but I did enjoy reading your thoughts on it!

Athira said...

This one does sound fabulous. I like how the memory loss issue is covered and it is interesting how much a person can change when he/she doesn't know how he/she used to be pre-memory loss. I will be adding this one to my list.

nomadreader said...

Allison Winn Scotch is a writer I keep hearing about but have not read. The premise here is interesting, and I would like to experience her books for myself. Great review.

Jenny said...

Sounds like a good book,but you're right that there are so many books out lately about memory loss!

geosi said...

I like the sounds of this book. Interesting, i think.

Beth F said...

I had the same first thought as others: I'm not quite sure why there is a memory loss trend these days. I haven't read Winn Scotch yet but I think I should remedy that.

Darlene said...

Great review Heather! I enjoyed this book although I agree it's not a happily ever after type of story. I really enjoy Allison's writing - her books all seem to evoke emotions for me.

Meg @ write meg! said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this one! I read another by Winn Scotch a year or two ago and enjoyed it, and these days I'm tending to favor authors I've experienced before. Great review!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Great review! I can't wait to read this one. Interestingly, the way you felt about this book is how I felt about Time of my Life; it was darker than I expected. But I loved it.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Sounds like a story that really draws the reader into the characters' lives!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

Ryan said...

I'm ashamed to admit that I was secretly hoping this novel had something to do with Led Zeppelin. It didn't, but it still sounds pretty good.

ImageNations said...

My first thought was 'how many books are dealing with memory loss these days?' But you provided a good reason why someone should choose this particular one too. Amnesia is something I've thought of. How the sufferer feels and more. And I feel disgusted that people will take advantage of, instead of helping, the sufferer.

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