What My Body Remembers by Agnete Friis

What My Body Remembers

From New York Times bestselling author Agnete Friis comes the chilling story of a young mother who will do whatever it takes to protect her son. Ella Nygaard, 27, has been a ward of the state since she was seven years old, the night her father murdered her mother. She doesn't remember anything about that night or her childhood before it but her body remembers. The PTSD-ind...

Title:What My Body Remembers
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:161695602X
Number of Pages:304 pages

What My Body Remembers Reviews

  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    The night her father kills her mother, Ella is only seven years old and becomes part of the system. She acts out and becomes unexpectedly pregnant at a young age. Her post traumatic amnesia leads to severe panic attacks, leaving her in question with the state regarding her ability to take care of not only herself, but her son as well. When it becomes apparent that the state wants to take her son away, she takes matters into her own hands and runs away with him. Heading back to her grandmother's

    The night her father kills her mother, Ella is only seven years old and becomes part of the system. She acts out and becomes unexpectedly pregnant at a young age. Her post traumatic amnesia leads to severe panic attacks, leaving her in question with the state regarding her ability to take care of not only herself, but her son as well. When it becomes apparent that the state wants to take her son away, she takes matters into her own hands and runs away with him. Heading back to her grandmother's abandoned house, she's forced to confront the past she can't remember.

    This book is shown mostly through Ella's eyes with flashbacks through her parents (father, Helgi and mother, Anna) leading up to Anna's death. The author builds the story in an atmospherically beautiful and poignant way. We see the human struggle in all three characters - the marriage that falls apart, psychological damages that incur, a child's memory confused by her own immature mind. An absolutely gorgeous read. I guessed correctly at the ending and what was coming as it was happening, but it didn't take away from me loving the book any less. If you're looking for something fast paced and a twist that punches you in the face, this probably isn't quite the read you're looking for. However, if you're looking for a beautiful, atmospheric thriller that hits your emotional center, this is it. While the ending is not surprising, the author builds the entire story in a way that leaves you satisfied. Be warned that this story is bleak with an extremely flawed and unlikeable lead character. In fact, none of the characters are likeable - but they are real and raw and that's something I can absolutely appreciate in a well written book.

  • Shirley Cagle

    I like that this book is different, in that the protagonist is not particularly likeable or easy to understand. The bleak situation and setting mirror her mental state and her inner turmoil is completely understandable once you know the circumstances of her childhood. The story has some interesting plot twists and tension builds more quickly in the second half of the novel. Very well-crafted!

  • Lynsey Summers

    The opening to this book was a little different to what I was expecting.  Usually you are given an explosive event or shocking revelation, but this opens with a very simple and frank conversation between two neighbours.  Two females.  It is muted, matter of fact and so completely puts you straight into the tone of the book it is very clever.

    So, what is the tone of the book?  Well, to be honest, it is pretty bleak.  Written in first person narrative by protagonist Ella, the reader quickly ascerta

    The opening to this book was a little different to what I was expecting.  Usually you are given an explosive event or shocking revelation, but this opens with a very simple and frank conversation between two neighbours.  Two females.  It is muted, matter of fact and so completely puts you straight into the tone of the book it is very clever.

    So, what is the tone of the book?  Well, to be honest, it is pretty bleak.  Written in first person narrative by protagonist Ella, the reader quickly ascertains that Ella and her son Alex live a pretty poor life, both financially and in quality.  Both Ella and Alex suffer from mental health issues, something Ella fights the state about with vengeance.  Ella's general outlook on life and other people is negative, she trusts in very little, but that is hardly surprising given the traumatic and fragmented up bringing she has endured.  When she moves back to where she grew up, she meets people from her past who seem to know more about her than she does; Thomas, her old school friend who obviously hasn't lost the flame he held for her, Baek-Nielson her grandmothers friend, Barbara who swears she will help her no matter how much she protests.  The author presents them well, I was not sure who could be trusted...

    Throughout we are taken on Ella's, reluctant, journey of discovery about what really happened in her childhood, particularly the night her mother died.  What I liked was there was no sudden changes in Ella's attitude, she didn't suddenly become an optimistic fighter, or into money.  She is forced to deal with her own past so that it doesn't affect her son's future, but even so, she does it all seriously dragging her feet and with limited means.

    In between the current day scenes with Ella, we are taken back to 1994, the year her father allegedly killed her mother.  Told from the viewpoint of both her father, Helgi, and mother, Anna, the reader learns the couple both had secrets and issues over the course of that year.  Using the three viewpoints the plot comes together well and at a steady pace.  Although I did put two and two together, it did not spoil the book for me and I enjoyed the way the author weaved and pulled all the ends together. 

    I loved the characters, they were very real and most importantly relevant to the plot.  At first, I did wonder whether some of the language used was a little too much, but actually considering it now, as I review the novel in it's entirety, no it wasn't.  The book is set to the theme of hardship and with that comes gritty realities that sometimes only profanity can truly help describe.  Although some of the characters and language may seem harsh, the overall emotion I got from them was actually compassion, I particularly thought this of Rosa.

    What My Body Remembers, for me, was a different kettle of fish to what I was expecting.  It is written through emotion rather than action.  It's themes ran strong and true from beginning right to end and the characters are really well developed and interesting.

  • Bridget

    I so wanted to love this book, The Boy in the Suitcase is a book I loved to bits, I liked it because it was a different kind of mystery, one where I was guessing all the time, where I really liked the characters and where I really connected with the story. With this one though, I've just become really tired of it, I feel like I'm reading a puzzle with a bunch of missing pieces, but with so many missing pieces I can't even get the edges done, let alone fill in the middle bits. At times the pace i

    I so wanted to love this book, The Boy in the Suitcase is a book I loved to bits, I liked it because it was a different kind of mystery, one where I was guessing all the time, where I really liked the characters and where I really connected with the story. With this one though, I've just become really tired of it, I feel like I'm reading a puzzle with a bunch of missing pieces, but with so many missing pieces I can't even get the edges done, let alone fill in the middle bits. At times the pace is great and the story races along but at others, I feel like I'm reading a scene I've already read.

    The book was quite difficult to read because the formatting hadn't been completed in any way, lots of running words together, odd pagination and it was a long way from fully formed, but that doesn't usually worry me, this time because of the slow pace I found that it really did make it hard to read.

    Thanks to Netgalley for giving me access to this, I'm sorry I didn't love it more.

  • Abby (Crime by the Book)

    Find my full review on Crime by the Book:

    This is book totally defied my expectations for it - but I wholly enjoyed it. It's nothing like your standard Nordic Noir: it doesn't have a police investigation at the center of it, and it's hardly a violent story. Instead, it's a slow-burning, atmospheric exploration of a young woman's past - and how she is still defined by the traumas from her youth. It's tense, emotional, and a truly unique little book!

  • Diane S ☔

    Broken lives, broken people. Ella has been under state care since the age of seven when her father killed her mother. She was there, but remembers nothing of that time, and little from the time before. Her body though, does remember and she has severe PTSD, panic attacks that are crippling. She has a son now, a son she loves but is unable to handle a job, so, she receives money from the social services available. She drinks too much and is under the supervision of a social worker. When a severe

    Broken lives, broken people. Ella has been under state care since the age of seven when her father killed her mother. She was there, but remembers nothing of that time, and little from the time before. Her body though, does remember and she has severe PTSD, panic attacks that are crippling. She has a son now, a son she loves but is unable to handle a job, so, she receives money from the social services available. She drinks too much and is under the supervision of a social worker. When a severe attack hospitalizes her, the social services take her son, a son she recovers and then runs back to the town she is from. There she hopes to gain control of her life, she also begins to remember, pieces here and there.

    There was something about the atmosphere in this novel that I found captivating. Melancholy and almost haunting, this story is well written and well plotted. Although it is easy to dislike Ella and the things she does, I found myself rooting for her and her son, Alex. Suspenseful without being horribly graphic, was quite caught up in the story and once again did not guess the outcome.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Terri Jacobson

    Ella Nygaard is "on the dole" and living with her 11-year old son, Alex outside Copenhagen. Ella had a traumatic childhood--she witnessed her father killing her mother, though she has no memory of it. She spent her childhood in foster care homes. She has a long history of violence and antisocial behavior. Ella also has episodes of severe nervous reactions, and it's unknown if the diagnosis is neurological or psychological.

    As the story opens, Alex is taken from Ella to a foster home in the countr

    Ella Nygaard is "on the dole" and living with her 11-year old son, Alex outside Copenhagen. Ella had a traumatic childhood--she witnessed her father killing her mother, though she has no memory of it. She spent her childhood in foster care homes. She has a long history of violence and antisocial behavior. Ella also has episodes of severe nervous reactions, and it's unknown if the diagnosis is neurological or psychological.

    As the story opens, Alex is taken from Ella to a foster home in the country he is familiar with. In a panic, Ella kidnaps Alex and flees to her estranged grandmother's house in an isolated town in northern Denmark, Klitmøller. She is befriended by an artist, Barbara, who has a mysterious past.

    is the story of Ella as she begins to regain her childhood memories. The tale is told in 2 time frames: the present, with Ella and Alex; the past (1994), with Ella's parents.

    I really enjoyed this thriller from Danish author Agnete Friis. The writing is well above average and the story has many layers. It is paced nicely with several surprises. Friis is also author of the Nina Borg series, and I may be checking that out. An excellent reading experience.

  • Skip

    Ella Nygaard lives with her son, but cannot work because of her medical condition. She is estranged from her family as her father went to prison for the killing of her mother. Following a minor altercation, Ella grabs her son from a relation and heads out of the city to her grandmother's abandoned home on the coast, where they try to establish new lives. The book goes back and forth between the present and the events leading up to her mother's death until we understand what actually occurred. I

    Ella Nygaard lives with her son, but cannot work because of her medical condition. She is estranged from her family as her father went to prison for the killing of her mother. Following a minor altercation, Ella grabs her son from a relation and heads out of the city to her grandmother's abandoned home on the coast, where they try to establish new lives. The book goes back and forth between the present and the events leading up to her mother's death until we understand what actually occurred. I like the series about Nina Borg that Friis co-writes with Lene Kaaberbol, but found this solo effort rather flat.

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