This has an upside and a downside, we think. Upside: you wouldn't remember all the stupid stuff and regrets you had in life, like any of your awful haircuts. Downside: you wouldn't remember all the good stuff either. Is it worth it?
I eat the brain, and for about thirty seconds, I have memories. Flashes of parades, perfume, music... life. Then it fades, and I get up [...] feeling a little better. [...] A little less dead. (1.1.21)
R has to live vicariously through other people's memories of life. Because of this, he becomes a little addicted to memories. Maybe zombies don't have to eat brains to stay physically nourished, but they do if they want to be spiritually nourished.
"We have to remember everything. If we don't, by the time we grow up it'll be gone forever." (1.3.46)
Here, Julie doesn't make a distinction between good memories and bad ones. She says it's important to remember everything. But why? Well, in her universe, the alternative is being a zombie who remembers nothing, so we guess we'll grant her point.
"Just remember [your mom] [...] As much as you can, as long as you can. That's how she comes back. We make her live. Not some ridiculous curse." (1.4.20)
Again we have the memories = life metaphor. Perry's dad tells Perry that he can keep his mother alive through his memories. But now that Perry and his dad are dead, who will remember her? Is she gone forever?
"All the s***ty stuff people do to themselves... it can all be the same thing, you know? Just a way to drown out your own voice. To kill your memories without having to kill yourself." (1.7.60)
Even though Julie said earlier that it's important to remember everything, it doesn't mean she actually practices what she preaches. She turns to drugs and self-harm to forget things.
As residual life energy fades from the brain, the useless clutter is first to go. The movie quotes, the radio jingles, the celebrity gossip and political slogans, they all melt away. (1.7.74)
Basically, all the Shmoopy parts go first. Ugh, death sounds like a real drag. And we're going to make the argument that none of this stuff is useless clutter, thank you very much.
"It's important to capture things, you know? [...] Everything you see, you might be seeing for the last time." (1.10.12)
Julie repeats her earlier idea about capturing everything, this time with a camera in her head. But which one's better—a photograph, that always stays the same, or memories that can change over time?
"Memories you capture on purpose are always more vivid than the ones you pick up by accident." (1.10.13)
We're not sure if this is true or not. Sometimes the memories you least expect are the ones you can't get out of your head. Which is usually why we're always lying awake at night thinking of our disastrous sixth birthday party. You know—the one with the clown?
My past is a fog, but my present is brilliant. (1.10.64)
This is a change for R. Previously everything was a fog. But maybe by his present being brilliant, when the present becomes the past he'll be able to still remember it.
I'm not ready to make Julie a souvenir. (1.10.170)
This is a creepy serial-killer kind of thing to say, but R doesn't mean it this way. He just means that he wants to keep Julie in his present, not relegate her to the past, no matter how nice the memories might be. Still, we think there are better ways to phrase it.