Friday, July 10

The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E Pearson

When Jenna Fox awakens after a year in a coma, her memory of the car accident that caused her coma, as well as much of the preceding year, is blank, but there are curious patches of verbatim memory. As curious is the way her body recovers - one day her eyelid droops, the next it's fully restored; one day she is unable to recall a mundane detail, the next she has total recall of an event that occured when she was only weeks old.
Her father is away, her mother is hovering, and her grandmother seems to hate her, though Jenna doesn't know why. She also doesn't know why she's been sent to the tiny local school, or why she feels compelled to obey her mother, even when she doesn't want to. Jenna does know, though, that she was adored by her parents - her every step was taped for posterity, and as Jenna watches the discs that recorded a life she only spottily remembers, fragment begin to take shape. She had whispers about her friends, who seem mysteriously absent from the discs, and she knows that there's a secret, a giant secret, but she doesn't know what it is . Yet.

The title refers to the loving attention her parents paid to her every move, as evidenced by the detailed and somewhat claustrophobic recording of her every move from birth - each celebration, recital and event faithful taped for posterity or, as it happens, to bring back memories.
While reading The Adoration of Jenna Fox I was reminded of both My Sweet Audrina by Virginia Andrews, and Unique - in both novels parents attempting to recreate lost, loved children use a combination of dishonesty, technology (less so in the decades-old Virginia Andrews version) and manipulation to make matters worse.
However, for some reason I was felt less powerfully invested in Jenna Fox than in the similarly-themed novels. When the secret was revealed it came rather anti-climactically, and I didn't feel connected to Jenna, her desperate parents or her somewhat distant and unsympathetic grandmother. This wasn't a bad book but I had higher hopes for it than it was able to meet. - Alex

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