Title: The Memory Box
Author: Eva Lesko Natiello
Genre: Mystery, Thiller
Publisher: Fine Line Publishing
Date published: June 25, 2014
Page Count: 260
A digital copy of the book was kindly provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: What would you do if you Googled yourself and discovered something shocking?
In this gripping psychological thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name—which none of the others know.
The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia—upending her blissful family life—desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.
The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page-turning suspense cautions: Be careful what you search for.
I was excited to read this book, especially after having read the synopsis and hearing of how many people were comparing it to Gone Girl and other such thrillers. Gone Girl was very enjoyable for me, even though I had read it for school, and I really appreciate the amount of thinking and plotting which went into writing that book. The characters in Gone Girl were the epitome of unreliable narrator, and this is the only thing which I see The Memory Box and the aforementioned book to have in common. That, and the idea behind each of the two books.
While Flynn executed her idea in a successful manner, however, something went wrong in the space between planning and executing for Natiello. I understand what she was drying to do with The Memory Box, and the idea really had potential, but all of that was buried beneath the constant mental debate of the main character. I am very appreciative of narratives in which characters become unhinged, but am of the opinion that Caroline (this books MC) became unhinged in a very unexpected way. I cannot forget that Caroline managed to pee herself a number of times in this book, and would calm herself by sticking a wet spoon in a bowl of sugar, before licking said sugar off.
I saw one or two reviewer mention that this issue may have arisen due to the author’s wrong kind of, or entire lack of, research on the subject of mental illness. But while this is speculation, and I in no way claim this to be the truth in any way, what I do know is that I may re-read this book someday, after it has gone through some re-structuring and more editing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eva Lesko Natiello is an award winning author and graduate of The State University of New York at Albany with a degree in psychology. Her professional experience includes cosmetics industry Public Relations and Communications executive.
Ms. Natiello is a native of Yonkers, New York and currently lives and writes in suburban NJ, which provides the setting for the fictional town in her debut psychological thriller, THE MEMORY BOX, a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLER.. It is a recipient of the Houston Writers Guild Manuscript award.
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