Thanks for the Memories is another “Sleepless in Seattle” type of story, but set in Dublin, so it has an Irish flavor to it. Joyce Conway falls down the stairs and loses the baby she is carrying. This is the final blow for her marriage to Conor, since the possibility of a child was all that was holding it together. It also means that, after her hospitalization, she cannot bring herself to go back to her house where she had a nursery set up. She moves in with her dad, a very likeable old Irish guy who pretends to be a bit more addled than he actually is.
There is another way in which Joyce’s life changes. While she was in the hospital, she needed a transfusion of blood. At the same time, Justin Hitchcock, a divorced American who is guest lecturing in Dublin on art and architecture, is talked into donating blood, and his blood goes to Joyce.
As Joyce recovers from her accident, she finds that she suddenly has acquired knowledge and memories that aren’t her own and can’t be explained. Since the story of Joyce and Justin are told in parallel, the reader can see that the two lives are now entangled; Joyce even gets achy after Justin works out at the gym.
Some of the transferring that goes on from Justin’s life to Joyce’s is just plain silly. It seemed to me to be an interesting idea that was just taken way too far. On the positive side, Joyce’s dad is absolutely delightful, and the relationship he has with his daughter is endearing.
Evaluation: If you can overlook the excesses of the Justin and Joyce story and focus on the other parts of the book, it’s quite a rewarding read. I enjoyed it in spite of itself!
Published in the U.S. by HarperCollins, 2008