The Way to Remember

Fiction - Womens
238 Pages
Reviewed on 10/04/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Martha Reynolds is the author of nine novels, including the Amazon #1 bestsellers Chocolate for Breakfast and Bits of Broken Glass. Her novel Villa del Sol was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England. Her writing has appeared in Magnificat magazine and her very short poem was read by journalist Connie Schultz during NPR's Tell Me More poetry challenge.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Way to Remember is a work of fiction in the women’s fiction, interpersonal drama, and slice of life sub-genres, and was penned by Martha Reynolds. In this bold and emotive coming of age novel, we are introduced to life in America in the mid-1970s, where our nineteen-year-old protagonist finds herself expelled from college and estranged from her family. Robin Fortune has no plan to get back on track, save for a long-seated aspiration and a novel hiding in her closet across many notebooks. So when a famed and prestigious author comes to town, Robin spies an opportunity, only to discover that life is never quite what we intend it to be in the long run.

Martha Reynolds has crafted a beautiful and compelling coming of age tale which puts a headstrong but ultimately naïve young woman at the forefront of events and shows us that we’ve all got what it takes to make it, but it might not be in the ways that we first imagine. One of the things which I most enjoyed about the novel was that Robin felt like a fully realized person, with more than just the obvious immediate problems to handle. There was a deep exploration of her nature and character which served as a driving force behind the events of the plot. I also felt that Maryana Capture represented a particular age of struggle and knowledge about the publishing world and its many hurdles, which was astute and engaging as an antagonistic force. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Way to Remember as a highly accomplished work of drama.

Christian Sia

The Way to Remember by Martha Reynolds is a coming-of-age story that is intensely emotional and psychologically exciting, a story that follows Robina “Robin” Fortune, a young girl who gets expelled from college for selling pot. Her relationship with her father goes off the rails and things aren’t so good with her mother. Her relationship with Francisco Mello gives her the human connection she badly needs while working part-time at a dinner in the neighborhood and writing her novel. Her biggest dream: to complete her novel and meet her favorite author, Maryana Capture, who is visiting the local Thousand Words bookstore. Can Maryana help her get published and open the door to her dream as a writer?

This is a beautiful story and one with a beautiful setting in Rhode Island in the mid-1970s. The first thing I loved about this novel is the author’s keen sense of character. Robin is naïve, especially about her expectations of life, but she also has exceptional skills. She has difficult relationships with her parents: her father, Hap Fortune, is distant; her mother, Ruth, has unique obsessions. The characters are real and they feel like people readers meet in real life. Martha Reynolds has created a balanced protagonist in Robin, a character that is gifted, naïve, and strives to succeed amidst the setbacks that life throws at her. The prose is gorgeous and the plot features unpredictable moments that are enjoyable to discover. The Way to Remember is a mesmerizing story about a young girl trying to make sense of her life. It has likable characters and a good plot.

Romuald Dzemo

The Way to Remember: A Novel by Martha Reynolds is a beautiful story of a young girl who is expelled from college for peddling pot. The day she is expelled from college marks the beginning of trouble in the relationship between Robin Fortune and her wealthy father, who stops talking to her. It is painful that she pays rent to a property management firm owned by her father. What hopes does she have? She works at a local dinner by day and sleeps with Frank, her high school friend, whom she considers differently now. All she wants is to complete her novel and have it published. The news that her favorite author, Maryana Capture, will be visiting the Thousand Words local bookstore for a book signing gets her excited. Now all she hopes for is that Maryana helps her publish her novel. But will she?

Martha Reynolds is a good writer who has crafted a story and a character that I liked. Robin has a lot that I have seen in young people and a lot of what I used to be. She is easy to relate to. At nineteen, she has to deal with the strained relationship with her father. Her mother has health issues. Readers encounter a young female protagonist struggling to find her place in a society that has suddenly thrown her down. I loved the way the author writes the family dynamics, the relationships, and friendships, but what is most fascinating about this book is the way the protagonist is handled. Her motivation is well-developed, her predicament comes across vividly in the narrative, and her humanity — with all its flaws and strengths — feels real. The Way to Remember: A Novel is a delightful read filled with drama and written in a first-person narrative voice that pulls the reader irresistibly into the world of the protagonist.

Ruffina Oserio

The Way to Remember by Martha Reynolds follows the story of Robin Fortune as she navigates the challenges peculiar to her age amidst family problems while pursuing a dream. Robin first smoked pot at seventeen and at the time, everybody was doing it, and most of her friends had started earlier. She didn’t like it, so she never developed a habit for it. Instead, she started selling it, and by the time she moved to Boston for college, the word already spread, and she and her product were in high demand until she got expelled. And the same day she was expelled, her dad stopped talking to her. It was the beginning of a crisis for her, so she had to move in with a high school friend, whom she considered differently at this time. She worked in a diner in the neighborhood by day and wrote her novel at night, hoping that meeting her favorite author who was coming to town might open doors for her to publish her work.

This is a beautifully written and intelligently plotted novel that explores the world of adolescents and the challenges they face as they navigate through high school and college. Martha Reynolds writes about the dysfunction in a family and how it affects the growth of the young protagonist. The Way to Remember is a poignant story told from Robin's perspective and in a compelling first-person voice. With suspense, pathos, and humor, the narrator’s unique voice is irresistible. The author articulates brilliantly on a variety of themes: growing up, parenting, making the right choices, pursuing a dream, family, and love. The writing is great and the characters are real. Robin is a character I particularly liked and many readers will see something of themselves in this character.

Jose Cornelio

The Way to Remember by Martha Reynolds is an engaging coming-of-age story that follows a young female protagonist as she pursues her dream under very challenging and uncomfortable circumstances. The day that Robin Fortune is expelled from college for peddling pot is the same day her father stops talking to her. Her mother is not stable, and this adds to her troubles. Suddenly, she finds herself alone. She is working at a diner by day and writing her novel by night. Her favorite author, Maryana Capture, will be visiting the local bookstore and this author is her only hope of getting published. If only she can persuade Maryana to help publish her novel, things might get better for her. But will she?

The story is told in the first-person and it reflects the point of view of the protagonist in a powerful way. I was instantly pulled into Robin's worldview and it was hard to shift my focus from her. Martha Reynolds does a great job of capturing her emotions, even the faintest ones. I liked how relationships are written in this novel and how they fuel the conflict. The plot is deceptively simple, but it is the author’s gift for character that embellishes it. Most of the conflict is psychological and it reflects the world of a young adult who must make important decisions about her life. The Way to Remember is an emotionally rich story with characters that are believable. Martha Reynolds opens the story with a complex situation: the strained relationship between a rich father and a daughter. I was pulled in and couldn’t stop reading, thanks to the strong plot points, the suspenseful writing, and the believable characters.