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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvellous book beautifully written.
I read a short review of this book and decided to try it because I could identify with the subject. It is about a woman, Catherine, who's mother has died before she is old enough to remember her, which is exactly what happened to me. This is the first book that I have found dealing with this subject, and the more I read the more I could see myself in Catherine. The author...
Published on 22 Jan 2004 by FE Carter

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written but a chore to read.
Although it is obvious from the opening page that Foster is an excellant writer, this book is too heavy and depressing even for someone like me, who usually soaks up anything with a bit of real depth.
It seems as if Foster is trying to convey the multitude of feelings her heroine is exeperiencing, and in many ways she succeeds, but it felt to me like she was...
Published on 5 May 2002 by GemmaA


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written but a chore to read., 5 May 2002
By 
GemmaA (Lawrenceville, GA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
Although it is obvious from the opening page that Foster is an excellant writer, this book is too heavy and depressing even for someone like me, who usually soaks up anything with a bit of real depth.
It seems as if Foster is trying to convey the multitude of feelings her heroine is exeperiencing, and in many ways she succeeds, but it felt to me like she was playing with depth when infact the characterisations were decidely shallow.
I struggled not to put the book down in frustration and boredom, and when I had finally finished it I was left with that terrible downer you can only get from a disappointing read.
If you're looking for something superficially 'deep' and angst ridden then read this book. Otherwise give it a miss.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvellous book beautifully written., 22 Jan 2004
By 
FE Carter "Frances" (Northants, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
I read a short review of this book and decided to try it because I could identify with the subject. It is about a woman, Catherine, who's mother has died before she is old enough to remember her, which is exactly what happened to me. This is the first book that I have found dealing with this subject, and the more I read the more I could see myself in Catherine. The author has so much insight into what it is like to have never known your own mother, and also the fact that Catherine was an only child like myself made it even more amazing to read.
There were some parts of the book that made me gasp with our similarity, one phrase Catherine uses to explain her need for solitude is "only child syndrome". I have used that expression dozens of times to explain my need for my own space, and the way she finds it hard to keep friends as she doesn't put much effort into relaionships. I can identify with it all!
I think that only people who have lost their mothers at an early age will truly be able to understand this book, and I would like to thank Margaret Forster for helping me understand and come to terms with so many of my own emotions through reading it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but too rambling, 19 July 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
The idea of this story is so good that I couldn't wait to read it. A girl, Catherine, is left a box by her mother, who died when she was a baby. Catherine discovers this box when she is thirty-one, the same age as when her mother had died. Inside the box are eleven objects, all of them meaningless at first, but when Catherine begins to examine each object, she finds new truths, not only about her mother, but about herself and her stern Aunt Isabella. Through these objects, Catherine finds that her mother was not the sweet and innocent woman that everyone likes to remember her as.
However, when I came to read it, the narrative is so full of (to me) irrelevant ramblings that I found myself skimming certain parts, just to get to a bit that might reveal something of what the memory box was intended to do. The book is obviously well-written but, as another reviewer put it, don't read it unless you are used to heavy-going reading!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A big ho-hum, 20 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Memory Box (Hardcover)
"The Memory Box" had all the makings of a great story -- a dying mother who chooses special objects to leave in a box for her six-month daughter who grows up without ever knowing her mother and who seems perfectly content with the love of her father's second wife. The novel had the potential of being another "Rebecca:" A seemingly beautiful and clever dead woman whose strong personality haunts the present until her terrible secrets are revealed. However, "The Memory Box" has no great denouement. The objects in the box seem unrelated to one another and to any overriding theme. Often it is not clear why the mother chose them and what they meant to her. At the end of the day, the dead mother is an uninteresting character as is the narrator, her daughter. Moreover, the author's unrelentingly stiff and dry prose undermines the dramatic tensions of the story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thank you to Margaret Forster, 12 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
There are so many aspects of Catherine's life that I can totally relate to in The Memory Box. The things she has done in her life, similar events, feelings and thoughts so accurately mirror my own life that I often found myself underlining much of the text. My mother died when I was small and I too store inside of me a kind of frustration and anger because of this. It was such a relief to find a character who feels as I do about things, about people, about the past. It's made me realise that like Catherine, I too need to address such areas of my life in order to soothe the hole that aches within - then life can be more peaceful and satisfying. I'm now planning to design and create my own memory box using papier mache to store valued keepsakes. I'll be putting The Memory Box in there too, one of my treasured keepsakes. I just wish to thank Margaret Forster for writing this wonderful book - it means a lot to me.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good idea - irritating style, 30 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
There's a wonderful central idea here,but I found Forster's prose style really got up my nose on occasions. For example, far too many dramatic verbs - people are forever rushing and jumping about the place. The central character is a spoilt brat it's quite difficult to feel sympathy for, and the other characters (with the exception of the dead mother)seem laboured over but not convincing. Too many happy coincidences make the plot creak - the heroine just so happens to get a job in Scotland when the storyline requires her to etc. etc. If you want a vindictive tale of a young woman and how she deals with her family/ past, try Lorna sage's Bad Blood, a much better book than this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally absorbing - but in a way you wouldn't expect, 5 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
I became totally engrossed in this book. I expected it to be a type of thriller/mystery when stories of the contents of the box unfolded.
But it was much more than that - so full of emotions and deep reflection. I could relate to so much of this, and it has certainly helped me to come to terms with similar events of my own life, and learn to face things, deal with them and then put them behind you. I feel stronger for reading this book.
During the book when she starts to get rid of some of the objects - I was horrified, because I wanted her to keep them. But, then it all starts to make sense. For anyone who has lost a parent when they were young - read it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!!!, 8 May 2014
This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
Having read lots of Margaret's Forsters books and loved them especially Shadow Baby I was disappointed with this book. I loved the idea of finding out about her Mum through the objects left for her but I got bored as these very objects amounted to very little. I would like to have found out something really interesting but what you got was a bog standard person in her Mum. I liked the way she created the main character as she was complex but couldn't relate to many people. Maybe I missed the point of the book but it got frankly tedious after a while. I wanted something to happen!!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic writer!, 22 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Memory Box (Paperback)
The author had me gripped after the first couple of pages! Would recommend to my female friends straight away! Class!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for me personally, 29 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Memory Box (Hardcover)
This book was recommended to me as it illustrated what an established author had made of the use of a similar subject - this relates to a piece of writing I am undertaking and the relevance or otherise of old documents, photos and memorabilia generally.
Therefore this book is not perhaps for the general reader but it is very well written and maintains interest in the story throughout.
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The Memory Box
The Memory Box by Margaret Forster (Paperback - 3 Aug 2000)
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