Five memory loss stories better than your average teleserye

Girl on the train
Screenshot from Girl on the Train (Photo credit: Flickr)

By Elaine Cotoner

(Originally posted sometime in the past in my old blog. I’m bad with dates.)

In your average Philippine teleserye, amnesia is the lazy way to make a plot twist. The female protagonist is poor but has milky white skin. The male protagonist is your run-of-the-mill prince charming, with a soft spot for poor girls with nice complexions. They fall in love and then—boom! Car crash. Male protagonist gets amnesia and forgets the love of his life. His bitchy mother is pleased.

So, yeah, here are better stories.

Girl on the Train 

by Paula Hawkins

Weapon of choice: Blackout/alcohol-related amnesia

Rachel rides the same train everyday. She watches a couple on her way home and names them “Jess and Jason” in her head. Jess is murdered and Rachel is the only witness. But the police are having a hard time believing her.  She was drunk that night, like every other night.

I had to drop the book for five minutes for the whoa-what-the-fuck moment. That was the only time I stopped reading it.

Memento Mori 

by Jonathan Nolan

Weapon of choice: Anteretrograde amnesia

Earl’s short-term memory can only handle ten minutes. Then everything is erased and he starts over.  There’s a picture taped on the door to remind him of his wife’s funeral. Someone raped and killed his wife, the same person that caused his amnesia. He must escape the institution he locked in and take revenge.

Read the story, watch the movie, revel in the Nolan brothers’ genetic awesomeness.

Maze Runner 

by James Dashner

Weapon of choice: Retrograde amnesia

Thomas wakes up in the elevator that takes hime to the Glade. There he joins a village of kids who can only remember their names. The Glade is walled and outside of it is a maze. He has to run the maze and escape it.

Before I Go to Sleep

by S J Watson

Weapon of choice: Total/Global Amnesia

Christine wakes up in her bed with a stranger. She goes to bathroom and realizes she’s twenty years older. The man in bed with introduces himself as her husband, Ben. He says she has amnesia, she can’t remember anything from the past twenty years. Everything she does today she’ll forget, once she goes to sleep.

She keeps a journal to help her remember. The first page says “Do not trust Ben.”

I had to finish it before I go to sleep–which took the whole night. So, so crazy.

Still Alice

by Lisa Genova

Weapon of choice: Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Alice Howland is a linguistics professor at Columbia University. She has three children, a loving husband, a life well-lived. At her fiftieth year she receives the oddest gift. She has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s heartbreaking to be inside Alice’s head. To be with her every page as she slowly loses herself. The book is also a scary reminder that Alzheimer’s can happen even to the smartest people.


So, did I miss anything? Let me know.



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