Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review - The Memory Bank by Carolyn Coman and Rob Shepperson (3/5 stars)

The Memory BankReading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 288 pages

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: From Amazon Vine
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program.  It looked like a fun book and had excellent reviews.  After reading it though I have mixed feelings about it.  There were some things I really didn't like and some things I really liked.

When Hope's little sister Honey is abandoned by their terrible parents.  Hope falls into a deep depression; she spends long periods of her life sleeping.  Then one day a man in a van shows up to take her to the Memory Bank because of a deficiency in her memory bank account.  Hope finds herself in a crazy world of memories and dreams; hoping beyond hope that she will find someway back to her sister Honey.

First let's talk about things I liked.  This is a very creative book.  The idea of a Memory Bank was very interesting and fun.  The story alternates between words (mostly Hope's part of the story) and pictures (Honey's part of the story).  I really thought that the authors cleverly integrated the pictures and story to create a great overall picture of what was happening.  As far as the plot; this story does emphasize how great it is to have love between siblings and for siblings to care about and help each other.

Unfortunately there were a lot of things I didn't like.  The story was a bit dark to read to children (and I am the queen of reading dark stories to my kid).  The idea of parents abandoning a small child in the middle of the road and of Hope's almost comatose like depression are very dark and serious; and I am not sure a young kid would be ready to deal with those types of things.  I get that they were supposed to kind of darkly funny; but the way it was told added a bit too much realism to not take it all seriously.  I also got a very yucky feeling when Hope decides to climb in a big white unknown van with some older guy...I was thinking okay...this is sooo not something I want to teach my kid to do.  Yup, son, getting into big white vans with a strange man will lead you to a magical world where everyone treats you special...

In addition to the above I thought the story was kind of boring.  My son and I started reading it together but it wouldn't hold his attention, so I finished reading it myself and was mainly glad when the story was over with.  While the Memory Bank idea was neat, there were a lot of miscellaneous facts about how it worked that were boring.  There isn't a ton of action and the story overall is pretty predictable.

Overall, some neat ideas and concepts.  I loved how the story was integrated with picture sequences to tell the story.  I would read it to older children; it is too dark for younger children and would put some questionable ideas into younger kids' heads.  It does tell a positive story about caring and love between sisters; but to be honest some of my son's Franklin books (like Franklin and Harriet) do the same thing.  It is not something I would read again and, to be honest, I am glad I got it through Vine and didn't spend money on it.
The Memory Bank

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps you can explain the pictures at the end to me. What did that mean?A baby is abandoned at an orphanage & a kid takes her away? Where? Is this a recap of the story? Did this really happen to the dream lady or the guy in charge? The end pictures left the story up in the air. I was quite confused.