“The memory box” by Eva Lesko Natiello – Book Review

Have you ever Googled your own name? Come on, confess, of course you have.  What if you found out things that you don’t remember?  Things that will completely change your life and how you view the people in it?  This is precisely what happened to Caroline Thompson in the compelling contemporary thriller, “The memory box“.the-memory-box“You can never tell just one lie”

Caroline, a former journalist, is now a busy, suburban, stay-at-home, mother.  She is obsessed with being a good mother/homemaker and she is a bit anal about her daily schedule. clipboard-to-doShe has two daughters, Lilly and Tess, and is happily married to Andy.  She is caught up in the social mire of suburbia, and is wary of the gossip-mongers amongst the ‘mothers’.  The ringleader begins to Google her acquaintances in order to find out some ‘dirt’.  When Caroline Googles herself, she finds only three innocuous entries.  Then, when she Googles herself under her maiden name, she finds information that rocks her world.capture

“Where do memories go when you lose them?”

Her memories are now filled with gaping black holes.  She cannot trust her own version of past events.  She goes back to the psychologist she once visited before her move to suburbia.  From him she discovers facts that can’t be true – they just don’t seem possible. She hears her mother’s voice on a tape recording saying, “Caroline had a very active imagination. She could convince herself of anything.”

Desperately trying to ferret out the secrets contained in her own repressed memories, Caroline becomes more and more unstable. She misses important appointments, forgets obligations, and is incessantly internalizing all the new information she has discovered about herself.

It’s one thing to ‘weird out‘ your friends but quite another when you even ‘weird out‘ yourself.

This book made me tired when I was reading it.  Not that I was bored… far from it!  I was almost physically tired as I empathized with the protagonists palpable panic, distress, and increasingly stress-filled and chaotic personal life.  It was a disturbing read, yet, like the bystander who cannot help but gaze at a train wreck, I kept compulsively turning pages…

The memory box” was a fast-paced and addictive domestic thriller.  I cannot honestly say I liked the protagonist/narrator, though she was one of the new breed of unreliable narrators, whom I usually love. Caroline was not someone I would ever wish to know, or could ever become friendly with.

I loved the analogies the author used in her writing. “The secrets you wish you never knew become a burden to lug. A bowling ball without holes.”

The family’s Westie terrier named Smarty Pants added some needed diversion from the intensity of the plot.3c1a60637302a67225192173c9cd8d58

The ending was a real twist.  It was uncomfortable to read, yet somehow, as Caroline was so psychotic, strangely apt.

The memory box” is published by Fine Line Publishing and is available in Kindle format from Amazon.com for only $4.99 in the U.S. and $5.99 in Canada from Amazon.ca.  It is also available in paperback or on audio book.


I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Eva Lesko Natiello for providing me with a digital copy of her debut novel.


evawebsite-095Eva Lesko Natiello is a native New Yorker, who, by transplanting to the New Jersey suburbs, conceived her first novel, THE MEMORY BOX.

She has written essays that have been published in The Huffington Post, New Jersey Monthly, The Mid, Sammiches and Psych Meds, the Parental Guidance blog on nj.com and elsewhere.

She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children and is currently at work on her second novel.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Page turners, Psychological thrillers, Suspense and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to “The memory box” by Eva Lesko Natiello – Book Review

  1. Debi Lars says:

    This is different from anything I have checked out just recently. I would suggest this as excellent read. I likewise recommend to read http://bit.ly/2L5bvqa Winnona Theodor . Thank you PS: I appreciate your work.


  2. skyecaitlin says:

    I’ve had this on my TBR for a very long time and have entered ‘giveaways’ many times, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Janice Wald says:

    I am an English teacher so I love literature. I love thrillers. This Agatha Christie count? I think so.
    Congratulations on being Danny Ray’s featured blogger. I was just featured blogger too. Maybe you can check out my blog if you need a blogging tip or two. That’s what I write about. Like Danny, I have many blog parties each month.


  4. Marjorie Roy says:

    The storyline of this book says read me. Great reviews everywhere.


  5. nickimags says:

    Great view I definitely want to read this!


  6. Sharon says:

    This novel sounds captivating and unforgettable.


  7. Another for the wishlist ☺


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  9. This sounds good – I like the contemporary context to missing memories, clever! As I’m hoping to get a Westie next year I’m also loving the inclusion of one in this tale


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  11. fredreeca says:

    This sounds great


  12. skyecaitlin says:

    Lynne, I have had this book on my TBR for a long time; it sounds exquisitely unusual. I also LOVE the cover. And, I have never googled my name.


    • Fictionophile says:

      Did reading this review cause you to try it? Googling yourself I mean…


      • skyecaitlin says:

        No, Lynne and for two very good reasons: for one, I am afraid, and the second reason is because I am anonymous; I am not on Facebook, and even though I am on other sites, I can be found as Skye Skye????


        • Fictionophile says:

          I envy your anonymity. I often wish I didn’t have a ‘web presence’. However, you can’t have a blog without putting yourself on social media, so it is a ‘Catch-22’.


          • skyecaitlin says:

            I was a college prof for 26 years and nearly passed out when I read the rate my professor reviews and those of my colleagues; being in that field, I was always very cautious about what I wrote online, and I learned early on, that FB could be a terrible weapon; therefore, I am remotely on Linked. com as skye skye and nothing else. I guess my privacy is my trademark.


  13. Emma says:

    This sounds great and a really clever idea. I have added to the list. (And yes, I have googled myself!)


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