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Amnesia in Lemonick’s “The Perpetual Now”


Amnesia refers to memory loss, including experiences, basic information, and facts. The press and digital media have to a great extent, fabricated amnesia. Various movies and YouTube videos have played a significant role in raising awareness of the disorder. However, these platforms have made people believe that one gets amnesia by simply bumping their head, but this is fictitious in most cases. Amnesia can be caused by brain infection or injury, stroke, electroconvulsive therapy, or brain surgery. Amnesia can also result from abuse of drugs, physical trauma, or insufficient blood flow into the brain. The principal symptom of amnesia is the incapacity to preserve new information. This essay reviews the book ‘The Perpetual Now’ describing the characterization of amnesia.

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‘The Perpetual Now’ by Michael Lemonick is an exciting piece of work that takes one deep into the most peculiar entanglement nature of the human brain. The book explains the brain’s functioning, such as creating and storing memories, and how the capacity to create and remember various memories affect an individual’s daily life (Banich & Compton, 2018). Lemonick writes succinct and informative while still amusing, which is challenging to attain in science journalism. The writer delivers a captivating lesson that enhances appreciation for having memories. In the story, Lemonick introduces Lonni Sue Johnson and his family. Lonni Sue is an artist, an amateur pilot, and musician diagnosed with acute amnesia and cannot recall or form memories.

The character in the story, Lonni Sue Johnson, is a celebrated artist who consistently produced covers on behalf of The New Yorker. However, in 2007, the artist contracted viral encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by infection (Lemonick, 2018). Active brain tissues of a person with encephalitis begin to swell, causing confusion, neck stiffness, seizure, headache, and sensitivity to light (Banich & Compton, 2018). The memory loss left Lonni Johnson severely amnestic, and therefore she lives in a present that never exceeds fifteen minutes.

‘The Perpetual Now’ describes the importance of memory in identity. The character in the story captivates neuroscientists how she still lives a joyful life despite having lost her memory. The characterization of Lonni Sue Johnson is correct because encephalitis is indeed a severe infection of the brain, as told in ‘The Perpetual Now’ (Lemonick, 2018). People diagnosed with the disease have a high probability of neurological impairments later in their lives, precisely what happened to the character (Banich & Compton, 2018). In this case, the virus attacked the part of the brain responsible for memory formation.

At some point, the character remembered her mother and sister, as well as her profession. However, the character was astonished at the memory of significant events 20 years earlier, such as her father’s death (Lemonick, 2018). The character could no longer create new memories and could not recognize her next-door neighbors.


As seen above, amnesia refers to memory loss, including experiences, basic information, and facts. The essay has reviewed ‘The Perpetual Now,’ describing the characterization of amnesia. In the book, the character, Lonni Sue, lost nearly all her memories and could no longer create new ones. This story has turned to be a basis of the broad scientific narrative, currently questioning traditional wisdom concerning how the brain stores memory and awareness. Therefore, the story enhances human comprehension of the brain and the appreciation of human resilience.


Banich, M., & Compton, R. (2018). Cognitive Neuroscience (4th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Web.

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Lemonick, M. D. (2018). The perpetual now: A story of amnesia, memory, and love. Anchor.

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