Memory Book (Review)

March 1, 2010

Book cover for "Memory Book" by Howard Engel.Title: Memory Book: A Benny Cooperman Detective Novel

Author: Howard Engel

Publication Year: 2005

Pages: 256

Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Source: CBC Podcast Between the Covers

Normally, I don’t read detective novels. I’ve been working my way through the “back-catalog” of Between the Covers, though, on my commutes to and from work (as well as on my runs), so I decided to give this one a shot.

The premise is really quite interesting – the main character, Benny Cooperman, has woken up in hospital after being hit over the head and nearly killed, then left in a dumpster. He has no recollection of what he was doing in Toronto, never mind what happened, and he has to start putting together the pieces slowly after he finally wakes up and bits and bytes of his memory starts returning. He also has a much larger problem, at least in my opinion – he can write, but he no longer has the ability to read. Anything.

Memory Book is somewhat based on the author’s experience, as a companion piece to his memoir The Man Who Forgot How To Read. I think this was a large part of the reason why I found the storyline interesting, in addition to my love of almost all stories that take place in Toronto.

At the beginning of the book, I wasn’t really all that into it. As the pieces came together, though, the pace definitely picked up, and I started to really get interested and want to know what was going to happen next. I also started to feel a real sense of affinity and affection for the main character, Benny. He just started sprinkling these offhand remarks all over the place once he started to get better, and it was hard sometimes not to laugh out loud on the streetcar!

Definitely not my usual fare, but a thoroughly entertaining read. I’d recommend it for anyone looking for something a little less serious to enjoy.

Rating:

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