Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard- Book Review


Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard (Legend Press)

Review copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genres: Thriller, Trauma

RATING: 4/5

 

Story

Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.

However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?

As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.

Review

In many ways this is a horrible book. We spend a lot of time experiencing Lisa’s flashbacks and fear, and there are very few laughs. It’s sad. Of course, what would you expect with this subject matter?

But don’t let that put you off. Were it any different, it would be awful. As it is, the novel is a triumph.

Beard has managed to portray a realistic, well-rounded victim of trauma in an accurate and respectful way. Her psychological difficulties are at the forefront of the story, but Lisa is still a real human being and she isn’t defined by that one experience. She has depth and personality, and I think I really understand her.

I think the success of this novel is partly down to its pace. Although the storyline of Dare to Remember spans approximately 2 years, it takes a long time to get there. We spend a lot of time with Lisa immediately after the event, as she struggles to come to terms with what’s happened. It is a great way to really get your claws into the mindset of the character, though the subject matter and slowness does make it a bit more difficult to stay engaged with the book for long stretches. I’m a read from 8pm to 3am sort of person, so that didn’t suit me, but you may be a 10-page at a time person, in which case it’d be perfect.

Despite taking a little longer to read the novel than I would usually, there is a great air of intrigue which kept me coming back. Lisa can’t remember what happened that night, or even who Fergus was, though there is something, as my brother would say, ‘on the tip of her brain’. Her struggle to find out what that something is definitely keeps the pages turning, and when it is revealed it’s a worthy surprise.

I’m also delighted that Beard didn’t feel the need to give Lisa a man to ‘help her through’. Well, the psychologist is a man, but that doesn’t count. She is her own knight in shining armour, and that is a truly refreshing thing to find, even in this day and age!

It’s a great read for any fans of the thriller genre, and I’d definitely recommend. Just don’t expect a laugh.

Dare to Remember is available to purchase NOW!

Susanna Beard can be contacted via her website and twitter.

Could You Have A Nightmare Disorder? – Gingernut’s Science Dunk


A nightmare can be an ntrusive and traumatic event. Here we explain why repetitive nightmares might occur, and what can be done about them:

Could You Have A Nightmare Disorder? – Gingernut’s Science Dunk

Scientists Have Grown a Brain in a Lab!


Yep, you read that right. They have grown a brain in a lab.

This image shows the lab-grown brain and it’s identifiable features.

(Mad) scientists at Ohio State University are the first in the world to have performed this crazy feat, in the hope that they can discover the secrets to some of the most devastating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinsons. They claim it can be used not only to help treat these diseases, but also to gain a better understanding of the progression of some developmental disorders such as Autism.

“Genomic science infers there are up to 600 genes that give rise to autism, but we are stuck there. Mathematical correlations and statistical methods are insufficient to in themselves identify causation. You need an experimental system – you need a human brain.”

The unconscious brain resembles that of a 5-week old foetus, yet has 99% of the different neuron types and genes of a fully-formed organ. It even has a spinal cord, nerve-signalling circuitry and a retina (an area in the eye vital for vision). The brain was created through a complex process of turning adult skin cells into ‘pluripotent’ cells – these are a type of stem cell which can be programmed to turn into literally any cell type in the human body.

Unfortunately they cannot grow a brain any larger than this one because it would require a blood vessel structure they cannot provide – for that they would also need to build an artificial heart. I have no doubt, however, that one day this will become a reality. Although the exact uses of the artificial brain are not yet 100% clear, the scientists who have worked on the project have high hopes:

Professor Anand, who led the project

“If you have an inherited disease, for example, you could give us a sample of skin cells, we could make a brain and then ask what’s going on,” said Professor Anand, who presented the work at the Military Health Research Symposium today.

“We can look at the expression of every gene in the human genome at every step of the development process and see how they change with different toxins. Maybe then we’ll be able to say ‘holy cow, this one isn’t good for you.’”

I am quite astounded at how this research could completely revolutionise personalised medicine, but the thing I love the most is that they are initially using it to investigate post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries. These are two areas I am really interested in, so I’ll try my best to follow the research and tell you guys what they’ve found. You can read more about the project here.

HOW COOL IS THIS?!

Gingernut x