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You Lost Me There

Created date

July 27th, 2010
If two people have the same experience but remember it differently, what does it say about their respective minds? Rosecrans Baldwin explores this intriguing theme in his new novel,You Lost Me There(Riverhead Books). The story is told through the voice of Dr. Victor Aaron, a preeminent Alzheimer s researcher whose vast knowledge about the biology and process of memory is challenged when he discovers a stack of index cards written by his late wife. The cards describe important events in their marriage and Victor is shocked to learn that he never knew or simply doesn t recall many details his wife Sara thought were significant.

A perfect life

[caption id="attachment_13459" align="alignright" width="198" caption="Author Rosecrans Baldwin. (Photo by Susie Post Rust)"][/caption] As Victor attempts to piece together Sara s impressions, he must confront the fact that the relationship he saw as rock solid was, in fact, on shaky ground, at least from Sara s perspective. He begins to question everything in his life, including his work and his fractured relationships with colleagues, friends, and family. As a child, Victor was teased for being too perfect and, as an adult, Victor s life appears to be in perfect order. His work is both satisfying and respected. He has a standing Friday night date with his burlesque-loving girlfriend, Regina. He spars with his late wife s cantankerous aunt, Betsy. He helps his modern hippie goddaughter, Cornelia, land a job at a top local restaurant. He offers advice to his super-achieving coworker, Lucy.

Alzheimer s of emotions

But when the women in his life start to demand more from him, it becomes clear how detached Victor really is. During one particularly insightful exchange, Regina accuses him of having Alzheimer s of the emotions. Soon, Victor s inability to connect with people, his emotions, and his past takes its toll. Not until practically everything he starts out with is ravaged does Victor confront his grief. How different were people anyway except for the memories we carried? Victor asks himself early in the novel. While the themes Baldwin explores in his first novel are both weighty and melancholy, the book is neither. The supporting characters are quirky, offering a nice contrast to Victor s ennui. Set on an island off the coast of Maine,You Lost Me Thereis a great end of summer or early fall read light enough to enjoy on the beach but substantial enough to keep you thinking as the cool breezes of autumn sweep in.