Dr Victor Aaron, an Alzheimer’s researcher in his late 40s, works in a laboratory studying the effects of memory and the human mind. As this humorous yet sad love story unfolds, Victor is mourning the death of Sara, his wife of 30 years, after a fatal car accident three years earlier.
Sara and Victor personify the old adage that opposites attract: he’s a brooding scientist, a perfectionist who is logical but selfishly childlike; she was a burgeoning playwright turned screenwriter who, just prior to her death, penned a hit romantic comedy called The Hook-Up. They bond over old movies and a mutual affinity for action films starring Bruce Willis, but the fine-tuned thread that runs the length of this novel comes 50 pages in: ‘If two people have the same experience, but remember it differently, what does that say about their respective minds?’
After discovering a series of note cards, on which Sara details their marital ups and downs, Victor is forced to reevaluate their entire life together. He remembers everything differently. The irony, of course, is that Victor is an expert on memory, except when it pertains to his own. Using this clever paradoxical sub-plot, Baldwin – one of the founding editors of delectable literary website the Morning News – illustrates Victor’s post-Sara life. But it is his secondary characters and Sara’s diary-like entries that open the book’s five parts and make You Lost Me There such an impressive debut.