Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Unforgettable

A review of Unforgettable by Loretta Ellsworth

After Baxter Green injures his head at the age of three, he has a perfect photographic memory. In fact, he can't forget things--even when he wants to. He'd really like to forget about Dink, his mom's old boyfriend who's just been released from prison. He'd like to forget about how being Memory Boy made him a first-class nerd at his old school, especially when he's trying to start out fresh in Minnesota. But even though having a perfect memory makes it easy for Baxter to ace tests, it doesn't make it any easier for him make friends or figure out how to do the right thing, when Dink tracks him down.

Baxter is a fresh and believable male character. The problem of having a photographic memory is unusual, yet the repercussions (having difficulty fitting in at school; not knowing how to deal with mom's boyfriend) are universal. This character has strong appeal to both male and female readers. Also, the Minnesota setting adds unusual depth. Baxter is drawn into a fight (led by a very attractive fellow student) to make taconite (iron-ore pellet) mining safer for workers and for people in the surrounding community--many of whom are suffering from a rare form of cancer.

Strange but true Minnesota connection: While reading this book, I heard a story on the radio about a new study of mesothelioma, the cancer Baxter's pretty girlfriend is interested in. Without being a spoiler, I can say that Baxter wouldn't be at all surprised.

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