Review of The Memory House

By Scottee Hoff

In one way or another, people are connected. Think of a chain. Links of a chain are woven together, joined directly, or with other links in between. The same can be said for people. The Memory House, a novel compiled of memoirs, by Raki Kopernik exemplifies the connection of people from beginning to end. Kopernik’s strong, and effective, use of details and figurative language keeps readers engaged and wanting to know more. She expresses multiple themes throughout her life story, resulting in the reader connecting with Kopernik and her experiences. 

The most prominent theme in The Memory House is that everyone is connected in some way. She shows that people can become connected through loss, as she says, “They lost their families, and so became tied to ours.” Or through the stories of others because, “They learned about the world from another’s stories in the back of the truck.” Or even through mutual people. I grew up in a small town, where everyone seemed to know everyone, or at least have mutual connections with every person in our town, so when Kopernik said, “If you didn’t know the person who died, you knew someone who did” it resonated in me. Through her stories, she expresses that “Everyone [is] connected, woven loops” from the first page until the last. 

Not only does Raki show that everyone is connected in some way, she exemplifies that history always repeats itself in some way. Her collection of memoirs tells not only her own story, but her mothers. Through focusing on both, Raki showed the connection between her and her mother as, “Our memories one memory”. 

My personal favorite part of Raki’s work was her use of small details and figurative language. Her successful use of these two components of writing were evident, yet not overused. The product being that the reader is sucked into Kopernik’s stories, feeling as though they were there as well. She starts out her novel by telling stories about her mother and that she used to live “in a one-room apartment in old British airport hangar divided into pieces.” She doesn’t stop there, she continues on, “a long loaf of bread sliced into thick chunks. Each family had a slice.”This strong use of a metaphor, in this situation, creates a vivid understanding of the layout in which her mother lived, in a creative and engaging manner. 

The stories of Raki and her mother create a relatable and intriguing storyline for all types of readers. As someone who is typically drawn to fantasy and science fiction books, I was still hooked on every word that Kopernik had to say. Not only was The Memory House a novel that I particularly enjoyed reading and immersing myself in, it is a novel that I recommend for readers of all backgrounds and experiences.

Scottee Hoff is currently a sophomore at Carroll University, studying elementary education, special education, and mathematics. Her goal is to become a middle school math teacher after she graduates. When she is not busy with homework and studying, you can find Scottee reading a good book or spending time with family and friends.

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