The Memory Addicts
by Derek Kannemeyer
Book review by Nicole Yurcaba, for the US REVIEW
"Well, to get back to my point: Jody is intrigued enough to worry about us, how we’re forgetting things, and she says to stay in touch; she might be able to help us."
This book opens with an apocalyptic scene in which the world, as so many know it, has been radically transformed. A ravaging pandemic of a memory-erasing virus turns those it infects into zombie-like husks of their former selves. Jody works in a Virginian medical research facility. She has access to a unique drug with a horrible side effect. However, it still has the ability to counter the virus. At a critical point, Jody makes a crucial decision that offers hope to not only her but also a few of those around her. Her decision, nonetheless, unlocks the survival instincts of those who have survived the pandemic’s onslaught. The narrative navigates each character’s moral and ethical decisions, challenging readers to look inside themselves and ask just what they would do to survive such a horrific event.
Similar to books like Camus’ The Plague, this book examines the best and worst of human behaviors during times of ultimate crisis. What makes this book unique is that readers witness the events through a series of carefully curated character narratives. These narratives provide poignant insights into what each character has experienced during the pandemic. The narratives also offer readers a glimpse into the characters’ past lives. However, at its core, the book is a moral examination of memory’s fallibility and reliability and how individual memories shape collective memory as well as history.
Readers who enjoy psychological thrillers will likely appreciate this book. Additionally, those seeking a philosophical take and a modern twist on pandemic-themed literature will find exactly that in these pages.