BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember: The Stroke That Changed My Life by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee [in Library Journal]

Ten years ago, Lee was married to her college boyfriend, living in Berkeley, and working as the human resources director at a small company. On New Year’s Eve 2006, Lee suffered a stroke. She was 33. She would spend the better part of a decade recovering; in the process, she lost her short-term memory, her marriage, her sense of self. By the time she wrote this memoir, she had become a mother and reinvented herself into the person she was meant to be.

As compelling as Lee’s story is – her 2014 Buzzfeed essay, “I Had a Stroke at 33,” went viral – it falls flat as literature, bogged down especially by repetition, teetering between a disturbing mix of self-deprecating humor and blinding desperation.

Narrator Emily Woo Zeller narrates as if she’s only too aware of the book’s flaws, merely pushing through to get to the end, especially when facing daunting stretches of medical and psychological jargon. That Lee and Zeller share an Asian background also doesn’t ensure an automatic match, nor does Zeller having grown up hearing Chinese spoken at home mean she can accurately pronounce Korean, which is Lee’s heritage.

Verdict Despite engrossing true-life experiences, this work ultimately disappoints.

Review: Modifed from “Audiobooks: Xpress Reviews,” Library Journal, August 10, 2017

Readers: Adult

Published: 2017


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