Book Review: Find Me

Find Me (Book)
Find Me by Laura van den Berg
“Things I will never forget: my name, my made-up birthday…The dark of the Hospital at night. My mother’s face, when she was young.Things other people will forget: where they come from, how old they are, the faces of the people they love. The right words for bowl and sunshine…What is a beginning and what is an end.”

Joy spends her days working the graveyard shift at a store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with silver blisters and memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune.

Read for the Books and Tea Traveling Book Project, copy from Maria.

So yeah, this book is about a 19-year-old Joy who is stuck in a hospital because she has been chosen for a research project because she’s suspected to be immune to the deadly sickness that’s spreading all over America. She’s not stuck alone though, she has almost 80 patients keeping her company, including her roommate she wants to sleep with and twin boys obsessed with Hawaii. The premise actually sounds really interesting, but most of the time the book was just weird. I don’t know if it was because I’m not a huge fan of the genre or what but I kind of had to force myself to finish the book.

The book is split in two parts, first in the hospital and then out of the hospital. The first half is definitely the stronger part of the book, because I actually wanted to know what they were trying to accomplish there. The reader knows just as little about what the doctor and nurses are doing as the patients do and most of the time Joy isn’t even that interested in anything happening there. She’s the type of character who doesn’t seem to care about anything much, and a lot of that is explained in the flashbacks of her life before the hospital (which is mostly depressing, and in some parts just dark). Her slight obsession with her roommate annoyed me because he wasn’t the greatest guy in the world, but luckily the romance didn’t end up playing a big part.

In the second half the book just kind of falls apart and we go from a quest to find Joy’s mother to doing drugs in a creepy basement. I’m not even sure how much of the events in the second half actually happen and how much is just Joy’s imagination. Then again that was probably the whole point since Joy is not the most reliable narrator.

Since the sickness in Find Me causes people to forget everything, remembering things is a pretty huge part of the book. It’s often brought up by Joy simply listing random facts all of a sudden. Sometimes they’re interesting facts and sometimes you just wonder what was the point. At least the facts were often correct (I actually looked up some things I found interesting, like St. Elmo’s fire) so that was nice. Power of the mind in general is a pretty huge theme, a good example being Joy not remembering parts of her traumatic past at all as a defense mechanism.

I ended up giving this book only 2 stars on Goodreads but hey, at least it was pretty easy to annotate. The book’s owner hasn’t read it yet either so it should be a lot more fun when she gets it back since two more people are still going to annotate it too.



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