Waking up with a strange man is scary. Realizing you lost fifteen years of your life overnight? That’s terrifying. With her memories from seventeen to thirty-two gone, Kate has no idea who she is and where she belongs. As she begins to fall for the man who found her, she wonders if she forgot those years for a reason. Should she keep trying to retrieve her original self, or start a new life? (Heather Wardell)
I have to admit that it has been a couple of months since reading Blank Slate Kate. But now that life is evening out a little bit, here is my review. This is one of two Wardell novels that I devoured over my first term break, staying up late into the night because I could not put it down! Wardell included the first chapter of Kate at the end of Live Out Loud (review to come) and I was hooked.
Wardell often writes about women trying to re/discover themselves and the use of memory loss illustrates this theme beautifully. Blank Slate Kate is engaging because Kate’s memory loss allowed me to identify with her journey to discover herself. Kate isn’t hiding anything or lying to anyone because she literally can not remember her life. Kate’s frustrations became my frustrations as she integrated new people into her life, tried to unlock her memories, and struggled to figure out who she is in relation to who she was.
I liked that the memory gap included world events and technology because it made me think about what it would be like to explore 2012 as my 17 year old self. I mean, that chick was renting VHS movies every weekend and making websites full of .gif files on Angelfire and thought call display was the shit! Hell, 29 year old me is still amazed by her iPhone every time she picks it up!
I would have liked to see Kate’s age difference addressed a little better though. She starts out sounding very much like a teenager but this piece is dropped rather quickly, turning her simply into a woman with memory loss. I felt like an adult voice taking over so quickly somewhat diminished the naivety of Kate. Although conversely, this may have helped contribute to a more determined, clearer, mature voice for Kate that her former self seemed to lack.
Wardell is not afraid to delve into heavy subjects and Blank Slate Kate is no exception. This story explores issues of death, sexuality, clinical depression, rape, and teen pregnancy. What I think is unique is how Wardell addresses these issues. She deals with them in ways that are realistic and believable instead of moralizing or excusing them.
Finally I feel the need to note that Wardell knows how to write arousing sexual tension that leaves me a little… how to put this delicately… flustered… hot and bothered…in need of a cold shower? She deals with sex and sexuality with maturity and a perfect mix of realism and passion. These scenes aren’t cutesy or excessively erotic. They are believably passionate and I think that is notable… which is why now I have shared with the internet how they make me feel.
Now lets all shuffle our feet and look the other way as I change the subject and wrap up.
Blank Slate Kate is a heart-wrenching journey of discovery that you won’t be able to put down until the last page is read. Heather Wardell writes believable characters who struggle with their identities, morals, and experiences without passing judgment on their actions. I think this is what opens the door for her novels to deal with heavy topic that most people can relate to.
I read Blank Slate Kate as an .epub on my Sony eBook reader. It is fulling formatted with chapter and page selection. 240 pages long.