Reviewed by Alba León
For Su Meck, life as she knew it ended with a ceiling fan crashing on her head. After her traumatic brain injury she had to piece her life back from second- and third-hand stories. Her very identity vanished, taking with it her knowledge about the most basic things in life, like the function of a tin opener.
Her candid account of how she managed to raise a family and move across the world and back is simply incredible. Hindsight makes her very aware that her memoir could have been so much more tragic. That her husband, her parents, even her doctors, refused to acknowledge that her brain was damaged in ways that could not be understood. That all the frustration of her very young partner, who found himself charged with a woman who could not recognise him, could be explained but not justified. And it is terrifying because she was not aware of it herself.
I Forgot to Remember is enthralling because it shows the daily struggles of a woman who did not know that her behaviour was not normal. It is scary because it very openly narrates how well she could pass off as a quirky person, rather than as a seriously ill individual, and how her behavior got explained away and rationalised. It is heartbreaking to read how she dealt with intimacy, her children and their sense of responsibility, and how terrified she was about being made out for the fake she felt she was.
I read this memoir in one sitting. It had me wincing at times, sharing the Meck’s family’s pain, but thanks to it I also became more aware of traumatic brain injury and its consequences.
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