“The Song Remains the Same” by Allison Winn Scotch
A woman, Nell Slattery, wakes up in a hospital to find out she’s only one of two survivors of a massive plane crash — and she’s completely lost her memory. Nell doesn’t remember her husband, her mother, her sisters, her college roommate/best friend, or her artistic genius recluse father. The only other survivor is a pretty famous movie star, who credits Nell for saving his life. The two are soon hunted by the media, but Nell just wants to know who she was before the crash. As the folks closest to her start filling her in, she can’t help but think they’re not telling the entire story.
This is where the book could have taken the easy road into schmaltzy chick lit and had amnesiac Nell and the movie star become lovers and create a media scandal, or something. Author Allison Winn Scotch steers clear of this terrain and manages to turn her admittedly chick-lit-like setup into a rather chilly story of family secrets and messed up relationships. It doesn’t get cheesy, and it doesn’t pander to it’s readers -both of which totally surprised me. Largely, this is due to the characterization of Nell — not the most likable person on earth. She’s a little bit mean, a whole lot confused, and incredibly complex and human. Her relationships with those around her are a lot more realistic, and thereby interesting, than a lot of authors have written in a lot of other books. These sisters love each other, yet drive each other nuts in not always quirky and charming ways. People do crappy things to each other, and this book is fine with that.
(If I have one complaint, it’s the character of Anderson – the movie star. While I’m glad he’s written quite normal and human, the “movie star” thing is one aspect where the book doesn’t always ring true. Some times, it’s a little bit “Entourage,” as this playboy actor beds woman after woman on his way back to recovery. It makes one wonder, if he’d been just a normal dude who survived the plane crash along with Nell, would that have been too boring for a novel? That said, it’s a basically forgivable qualm, and I’m over it.)
“The Song Remains the Same” would be a great travel read, as it’s engrossing without making you think too hard. I breezed through this book in no time at all, and was pleased by the places the characters wound up at the end of the book. Again, there’s no fairy tale ending and the endings are all pretty reasonable for a book that begins with an event as uncommon and mind-blowing as a massive plane crash and a movie star.