Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.95 shipping
+ $4.99 shipping
You Lost Me There Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 12, 2010
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
A famed neuroscientist learns potent lessons about the fallibility of memory in Baldwin's underwhelming debut, a highbrow melodrama that stretches for resonance and is narrated by noted Alzheimer's researcher Dr. Victor Aaron, who works at a small but prestigious Maine lab and grieves the death of his screenwriter wife, Sara. Victor finds a series of note cards that recount key moments in their 33-year marriage, but Victor's memories of the same events are either missing or differ, and it becomes clear there were longstanding issues in the marriage--notably that Victor felt threatened by Sara's success and wasn't supportive of her work. Victor does the normal confused and grieving middle-aged man things--becomes fixated on his laments, takes a younger lover--and eventually finds himself hosting his goddaughter, Cornelia, who inadvertently provides the clue that allows Victor to discover Sara's final, unfinished screenplay. Sara's perspective--here limited to her note cards--is affecting and provides the novel its best moments. Unfortunately, readers are stuck for the most part with Victor, whose unsympathetic culpability and fundamental blandness sap narrative energy and make much of the novel feel like filler.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Months after his wife, Sara, is killed in a car accident, Dr. Victor Aaron is still in the throes of mourning, although he has rather peculiar ways of showing it. By day, Aaron functions as a dedicated lab rat, heading groundbreaking research and trolling for corporate grants. By night, he conducts a sexually intense but ultimately unsatisfying affair with a considerably younger graduate student named Regina, whom he pursues to the point of stalking. Further complicating his recovery are his weekly command-performance dinners with his wife's elderly aunt Betsy and the sudden appearance of his goddaughter, Cornelia, who moves in with him while interning at a local restaurant. Amid the chaos, Aaron spends his insomnia-fueled nights combing through Sara's belongings until the discovery of a series of disturbing notes, in which she chronicled the tumultuous years of their marriage, sends him into further despair. Baldwin's manic debut novel delivers a capricious, poignant, yet oddly perceptive account of the quixotic nature of relationships and the fallacies of memory. --Carol Haggas
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Victor Aaron is a fairly well-known Alzheimer's researcher running a university lab in Maine. He is struggling with the recent death of his screenwriter wife, Sara, with whom he had only recently gotten back together after an estrangement. One sleepless night he finds a stack of index cards on which Sara was chronicling what she determined to be the instances in their marriage where their relationship changed direction. (This was an exercise recommended to them by a marriage counselor.) As Victor reviews more and more of the cards, he realizes his perceptions of their marriage--and some of his memories of their relationship--differed significantly from Sara's, which leads him to question much of their past. This soul-searching, plus his encounters with his childhood best friend, his goddaughter, his lab director, his wife's eccentric aunt and a woman with whom he has had a romantic encounter, leads Victor to at least a few moments of reckoning.
I really enjoyed the general premise of this book, as it tried to examine the concept of what makes a memory, and how two people might see the same situation completely differently. Baldwin is a gifted writer and I found the story very readable and compelling. I did struggle, however, because I didn't find any of the characters very appealing at first glance (and some characters had so many quirks they never appealed to me). I just couldn't understand why Victor wanted to deal with so many unpleasant people. But that's what life is about: taking the good with the bad. And that was the appeal of You Lost Me There: some parts I loved and some parts I didn't.
The book's main theme is a sly one: Dr. Victor Aaron, Ph.D. and Alzheimer's expert, seems to have a different memory of his marriage to recently deceased wife than she had. Her memories are revealed, one by one, in a series of index cards she'd written for counseling sessions in which she was asked by her therapist to recount five 'turning points' in her marriage. The discovery of these notes and their content come as a shock and comeuppance to Dr. Aaron, both in terms of Sara's clear disappointment (and, sometimes, anger) towards him and in the conflicts they produce in terms of matching his recollections to hers. To his consternation, third parties side confirm her versions.
What becomes slowly clear over the almost 300 pages of this work is that Victor has never fully processed Sara's untimely death. When the force of it does finally hit him some months beyond, his unraveling is very public and not at all pretty. [A great scene for a movie.]
Dr. Victor Aaron's wife Sara has been dead for several years -- perishing in a car crash soon after a reconciliation of their rocky marriage. To cope, Victor has lost himself in his research on a small island off the coast of Maine. When he finds some notecards Sara had written in therapy during a rough patch in their marriage, he's astounded to learn that what she had considered the signature events of their marriage, he can barely remember at all. "If two people have the same experience, but remember it differently, what does that say about their respective minds?" Victor wonders.
That's an easy one, isn't it? The answer is that respective minds are simply different; they see and experience the world differently. Not exactly earth-shattering, is it? But that's the idea Baldwin dwells on for the whole of the novel, and so, to me, the story didn't live up to the intrigue of its original set-up. Besides that reason, the novel fell a bit flat because Victor is such a dunderhead. He's humorless. He's a bore. And he's totally oblivious. Not good qualities for a protagonist, in my view. Furthermore, this novel finally made me realize the book reviewer cliche word "uneven." To emphasize the idea of the inconsistency of memories, Baldwin constantly jumps back and forth in his character's lives, often from paragraph to paragraph, between memories and real-time. The effect is that you're constantly a bit off balance trying to place the memories in some sort of chronology to construct a bigger picture of these characters' lives. Some clunky dialogue (Victor, confused, always asks "What are you talking about?") and some first-novel glitches (how does an early-20s girl who only brings a purple backpack for a summer stay suddenly have an evening gown and high heels?) also add to the sense of unevenness.
Finally, though, as Victor begins to slowly yank himself out of his malaise, helped along by some rather strange circumstances (a dream-like conversation with his dead wife, i.e.), the novel does gain some momentum and becomes a bit more fun. There are some very well-rendered and affecting final scenes which don't altogether save the novel, but do show Baldwin's promise as a writer.
To sum up what I consider to be about a three-star novel, it'd be really easy to make a joke like "No, Mr. Baldwin, you actually lost ME there," but I won't. (even though I just did...Did you laugh? No? Damn.) This definitely wasn't my favorite book ever, but I'd say if you're interested in getting on the ground floor of a writer from whom you'll surely hear, I'd recommend You Lost Me There for that reason.