This memoir, written with the help of Bart Davis, was published two years after the publication of a study that documented Price's "hyperthymestic syndrome"--the exceptional comprehensive memory of the details of daily life that dates back to her early adolescence.  Price tells of the relief and fascination she felt in working with researchers at U.C. Irvine to arrive at a diagnosis of her rare, and in some ways unprecedented, condition.  The narrative includes both her own account of the testing she underwent for purposes of diagnosis and brain mapping, and her story of growing up with an exceptional, and in some ways burdensome capacity to remember with detailed accuracy everything that happened, by date, including vivid replication of the emotions and sense experiences of the remembered moment.  Her story includes a particularly thoughtful chapter on losing her husband suddenly and the role of memory in mourning.


In the epilogue, Price expresses the hope that study of her own case might offer insight into more common memory problems, and perhaps lead to treatment of memory loss.  The story is most interesting where she focuses on the effects of total recall on relationships, daily life, and schooling.  She points out that her exceptional recall does not extend to memorization of text or numbers, but is confined largely to memory of lived experience; her performance in school was exceptional in some areas and quite average in others.  While the story may not win awards for literary excellence, it is a useful and thoughtful reflection on the role of memory in all our lives, as well as on the gift of forgetting and the capacity to remember selectively that seem, to the author, a kind of mercy.  While she admits that she wouldn't trade her memory because it has made her who she is, she also chronicles the considerable pain such total recall has occasioned.  A helpful book for those engaged in memoir, commemoration, or reflection on how their own life narratives have been shaped and tailored.  


Simon & Schuster

Place Published

New York



Page Count