I enjoyed this critique of the Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac jacket, which is still probably my favorite of all my books’ jackets.
Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Critique: The cover of the book Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, by Gabrielle Zevin, published by Square Fish, an imprint of Macmillan, was photographed by Mike Bentely/iStockphoto, and designed by Jeffrey Jenkins. The story itself is about an amnesiac— a person who has suffered from a partial or total loss of their memory. Jenkins helps portray this crucial plot point with the simple cover. A cover of a book is the first thing a reader will see before they know what the book is about, and Jenkins’ design not only conveys what the novel is about, but also gives the viewer a lasting sense of mystery that accompanies amnesia and the cause of the character’s amnesia. The type used for the title is very simple— it does not detract from the cover image, but it also stands out because of the light colour of the dark background. However, the contrast is not so intense as to tire the eyes when looking at it. As well, the last word of the title— ‘amnesiac’ — fades away into the background of the photo, mimicking how a memory is wiped away from an amnesiac’s mind. The cover image used is also incredibly interesting. The keys stand out against not only the dark background, but also the text. They seem three dimensional against the flat background. While most of the keys feature letters of the alphabet, the question mark stands out against them in the middle of the composition. The question mark is not placed generally where it would appear on a keyboard, so it draws attention. The use of the question mark in such an unconventional spot brings the mystery of memory loss to the viewer’s mind and allows them to encompass a general question of ‘what happened?’ This makes the viewers want to pick up the novel, and figure the mystery out for themselves. Overall, the elements that Jenkins’ used for the cover design of Memoirs of a Teenage Anesiac embody the theme of the book, compliment the title, and successfully make the viewer want to pick up the novel based on cover alone.