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The Reminders Hardcover – May 30, 2017
The Amazon Book Review
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An Amazon Best Book of June 2017: Joan Lennon Sully is a ten-year-old girl who has highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). Unlike someone with a photographic memory, she doesn’t remember facts and figures and numbers; instead, she can remember exactly how many times she’s met someone, what they were wearing each time, and what they said. For most people, memories are “like a fairy tale,” vague and changing over time—not so for Joan who, perhaps not surprisingly, is obsessed with being remembered (“like John Lennon or Winston Churchill”), and who thinks writing a song will accomplish that goal. When Gavin, an aging actor and musician, is invited by Joan’s family to stay at their house, Joan’s path to her dreams seems to have been laid out before her. Gavin has recently lost his partner Sydney, and Joan has memories of Sydney, which she can relate to Gavin in return for help writing a song. But nothing turns out exactly as expected in this charming novel, and Emmich’s subtle, skillful narrative reminds us that being remembered might be important, but what we are remembered for is more important. --Chris Schluep, The Amazon Book Review
"Emmich performs a bit of creative magic...in his warm and winning debut―Huffington Post
"Like Nick Hornby, Emmich has a knack for avoiding the treacly and saccharine while finding magic in unlikely relationships."―National Book Review
"Charming, raw and filled with empathy and sorrow, THE REMINDERS is also a refreshing look into the lives of people on the road to healing and new purpose, and for these reasons alone I give THE REMINDERS five stars."―The Aquarian
"this is a sad, sweet story of the pain and joy of the past, the curse of remembering everything, and the importance of new friendships."―Book Riot
"Beautiful and beguiling, a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it"―Popsugar
"Val Emmich has created an indelible cast of complex and quirky characters who drew me in for an emotional and humorous ride. THE REMINDERS is a book brimming with heart and soul-you really must read it!"―Garth Stein, bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
"In a story that is both startlingly original and deeply familiar, [Val Emmich] has given literature a remarkable young heroine, Joan, and a series of seemingly small events that add up to the kind of story small classics are made of. I could not stop reading, and was bereft when the story ended."
―Jacquelyn Mitchard, bestselling author The Deep End of the Ocean
"I thoroughly enjoyed The Reminders. It's a wonderful and unusual story told in a beautifully understated way. Quietly magnificent"―Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things
"An endearing and wise novel. I adored the unlikely friendship between a gifted child who remembers everything and a grieving man who is trying to forget. Emmich brings a compassionate, often comical, and always true eye to his storytelling. Ten-year-old Joan says a good song should either make you want to dance or cry, and The Reminders does both."―Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child
"Emmich captures the voices of Joan and Gavin, two such different characters, brilliantly. Actor and musician Emmich (Vinyl; Ugly Betty; 30 Rock) can confidently add "novelist" to his list of achievements. He has written a quirky, touching, and addictive read."
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And it's all of the little details and observations ... like Joan thinking Sydney's earmuffs were headphones. And Joan's sketches. And how she emulates her dad; and knows band names have to start with The ... they all paint such a vivid world.
The tie to music serves as a clever background and is a neat peek into the world of artists/musicians ... but really it's a stand-in for any shared interest that bond people together. What's amazing is the dynamic between Joan and her father, Joan's parents themselves as they come into "adulthood" making hard family choices, Gavin and his relationship with this unique young woman ...
And add in the interesting "gift" Joan has, (which is a truly fascinating REAL THING in human life) ... and the story just gets more textured and layered and wonderful. To have captured and expressed the mind of a young girl, let alone someone with the gift Joan has is a real feat, and a pleasure to read.
Think along the lines of Little Miss Sunshine ... an endearing, heartwarming tale that will make you laugh out loud at times, and tear up at others, but mostly with a knowing smile on your face in understanding the ups and downs of life and the perseverance of the human spirit.
A great read!
towards the end when joan and her dad are in home depot and she climbs the ladder wanting to fall and hit her head and lose her "super powers," i cried. it reminded me so much of when my daughter was 10 and on her swingset ladder platform and told me she wanted to jump off and kill herself. gut wrenching for a parent.
i loved gavin and sydney and their relationship and quest to be parents. of all the adults in the novel (paige, ollie, sydney, veronica, and mara) i truly think gavin is the best equipped emotionally to be a parent.
i loved it from start to finish. i laughed, i cried, i smiled, and i hummed along. it makes you think and fills you with joy.
it's endearing and will be one of my all time favorites that i read at least once a year.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a whimsical and lighthearted character driven story.
A great debut novel, Im excited to see whats next.
This is a very endearing story about the power of memories and the importance of holding on to them, even if doing so hurts. I adored Joan, and Emmich wrote her chapters with all the innocence and precociousness of a child while still giving her the heaviness that the weight of her condition would ultimately cause. The pain that her fear of being forgotten causes felt very real, and it contrasts perfectly to the pain that remembering his life with Sydney causes Gavin. Gavin himself was an interesting character to me. He is deeply flawed, but he acknowledges those flaws often, and his journey to accepting Sydney's death and the regrets he has as a result of those flaws reached me deeply. And sprinkled throughout Joan's and Gavin's stories are the issues facing Joan's parents, Paige and Ollie.
This is the first book I have read in a while that made me pick up my highlighter and mark all the beautiful passages that Emmich crafted. His ability to switch between Joan's ten-year-old voice and Gavin's more mature and grieving voice is a work of art all on its own, and I found myself completely unable to put this book down. This was especially true once Gavin was faced with several unanswered questions about Sydney's journeys to New York, and I found myself incredibly anxious to discover what he was hiding.
This is a beautiful book. Although there is a lot going on (Gavin's grief, Sydney's secrets, Paige and Ollie's issues with the studio, Ollie's job, Joan's fear of being forgotten, a songwriting contest, a TV appearance, Joan's new distance from her father), the journey through it all is worth it.