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Sunday, 1 August 2010

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares


From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, inspired, magical book-a love story that lasts more than a lifetime.

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.


So I read some less than favourable reviews of My Name is Memory which is why I approached it with some trepidation. However, apart from the end which I disliked but was setting up the premise for the sequel, I found it to be a vastly enjoyable read. I found the glimpses into Daniel's past lives so fascinating- all his interactions with the various forms of Lucy, the enmity between him and his brother and most of all, all the information about life in those various historical periods he lived in. Some might have said it was irrevelant but I relished it.
The chapters with Lucy too, set in the present, were interesting although I didn't find her as captivating as Daniel.

The concept itself of keeping one's memories of past lives was extremely interesting. I personally loved reading about how Daniel used these memories in everyday life. One scene which stood out to me in particular was when he travelled to storage place he had discovered and filled in one of his past lives.

A lot of patience is needed to sustain interest in the book since after the initial scene, the characters do not meet until near the end of the book. This was, of course, slightly aggravating but surprisingly not so annoying that I just skipped to the that portion of the book. As aforementioned, I enjoyed reading about Daniel's past lives and about Lucy slowly remembering hers.

Daniel is such an intricately developed character. His love for Lucy is boundless so you cannot help but root for him. Brashare's writing, especially in first person from Daniel's point of view, is very, very good which brings him to life. Every strong emotion felt by him is felt by the reader.

However, the final few chapters were a bit of a disappointment. I won't give anything anyway but I didn't feel that the fast-paced action really suited the tone of the book. The ending itself was far too abrupt and left a lot of things hanging in the air. But as aforementioned, it was just setting things up for the sequel- in a very undesirable way.

Will I read the sequel? Yes, because Daniel and Lucy were such vivid characters and I want them to have a happy ending.

Rating: 3.5/5

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