Centered on the adventures of Feribe at the Memory Destruction Center she goes to get rid of her painful bittersweet memories following a heartbreak, Lessons in Forgetting sets out from humankind’s desire for forgetting to draw an ironic portrait of modern life and its promise of happiness in return for money. With a most humorous approach to a grim subject like heartbreak, it is a singular work that combines literature’s limitless creativity with the four-step forgetting lessons included in it.
Feribe is a married woman in her thirties who works in a bank. Her life is an uncharmed one utterly unlike what she had dreamed of in her teens. Her monotonous life changes unexpectedly when she falls in love with a man who is likewise married. After clandestine meetings that go on a for several months, he tells Feribe he wants to break up. The guilt of having had an extramarital affair, along with her heartbreak, tears Feribe apart. One day she finds out through a friend about a place called the Memory Destruction Center. Reminded of the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she decides to go with the hopes that she’ll be able to have her memories erased like in the film.
On arrival at the Memory Destruction Center she finds out that there is no physical procedure regarding the brain but that rather, personalized private lessons in forgetting. The center gives Feribe absolute assurance that she will be able to forget her heartbreak in just four sessions. Generally distrustful of the entrepreneurs of the modern world that strive to turn other people’s misery into money, our protagonist ruminates, “just as hunger makes one eat one’s pride, so desperation makes one gnaw on one’s reason,” and that she has nothing to lose, agreeing to attend the classes once a week.