More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera was another book I saw a review for on Youtube. The premise intrigued me, someone having the ability to erase memories as a way to deal with a tough situation. The reviewer also mentioned it was an emotional read, and I was curious to see if that was true. It was true, this book was heartbreaking. I am not a person who gets emotional easily. It takes a lot in a book or movie to make me feel heartbroken, but this book managed just that.
Aaron is a sixteen-year-old whose life is not the greatest. His family is poor. At the beginning, you find out that his father has recently committed suicide. Aaron himself has also has had a suicide attempt.
There is one light in his life though, his girlfriend, Genevieve. They have a very cute relationship. They tease one another and have little rituals. She is what Aaron needs in order to be able to handle what is going on with his life at the moment. She makes him happy and he does love her.
For three weeks in the summer, Genevieve goes to an art camp, leaving Aaron by himself. While she is away Aaron meets a new friend, Thomas. They become close very quickly. Their growing closeness makes Aaron question his sexuality. He realizes that he is falling for Thomas. This creates a cascade of events that has a bigger twist that I won’t reveal here.
The events lead Aaron to consider a new technology at the Leteo Institute that can erase memories. Aaron has to decide whether he should get the procedure, whether it will help him at all. Does erasing your memories really change your life, or does it just cover up an issue you don’t want or know how to deal with?
The main of the idea this book revolves around the idea of what makes someone gay or straight. Does it have to do with memories? Is it a nature or nurture idea? Can you make someone straight by erasing their past actions and memories?
Now, I believe that being gay, straight or bi is not a choice. It is the way you are born. It is a part of you just like any other aspect of yourself. It is not something that can be changed. It can be ignored and covered up. But like when you dye your hair the roots always show through sooner or later. You can pretend as long as you want, convince yourself that you aren’t but at the end of the day it is a part of you.
This story took an interesting look at that idea. It presents you with a young man who is trying to navigate his world. He is lost. He has no one to go to talk about what he is feeling. There is no one with experience around him. He tries to navigate his new world but it becomes too overwhelming. He ultimately has to make a choice between erasing his memories and becoming “straight,” or not going through with the procedure and trying to find a way to make people understand who he is. As a teenager, this is a very overwhelming and confusing situation. He has support around him but not much knowledge.
I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it, praying and hoping things were going to work out for him. I desperately wanted Aaron to end up happy and feel content with who he was. I wanted him to have a revelation about being gay and how it is not something to be ashamed of scared of. But this was no Happy Ever After book. As I stated before this whole thing broke my heart.
I just wanted to be the support system that Aaron needed. I wanted him to be able to get away from the negativity in his life, to find somewhere where he was accepted but that would have made the book too neat. Everything working out perfectly, all his friends accepting him and understanding would have been too easy. This was much more like real life. I think that if everything had worked out with a smile, I would have felt cheated and annoyed. This isn’t a situation that is fixed with a few words and a handshake or hug. It takes time and it is a process and Silvera portrayed that well.
If you like science-fiction with heart you will enjoy this book. Don’t expect a light uplifting read, though. Expect a story that goes deep into your heart and will stay there leaving a lasting effect on you.