Today, I finished My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares. I found this gem at a thrift store earlier this summer and I have finally gotten around to reading it. At first, the summary threw me off a little bit and if it does, don’t let that deter you! I promise, it’s worth it.
Genre: Adult Fiction (and magical)
“Love who you love while you have them. That’s all you can do. Let them go when you must. If you know how to love, you’ll never run out.”
(I never liked summarizing, so I’m going to cheat a little.)
“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.
A magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking story of true love, My Name is Memory proves the power and endurance of a union that was meant to be” (taken from goodreads.com)
Rating: 4 Stars
(Disclaimer: This is a review. There is the potential for spoilery things. Readers be aware.)
I love Ann Brashares. I have read almost all of her books. The Sisterhood was a huge part of my life. Until recently, I didn’t go searching for anything else she had written. I’m glad I did. My Name is Memory is beautiful. Most of the chapters are about Daniel and his memories of previous lives. It’s fascinating to read his commentary on them. However, some of the writing did strike me as odd. The way the chapters are set up is a little strange. The titles are all locations and dates (years). In the chapters that Daniel recounts a story or memory from his older life, he also reflects on things he knows now in relation to what happened then. While this insight is interesting, I think the chapters should have been written a little different because of that. Each of them was made to feel more like a journal entry than his narration retelling a story. It was a little disorienting. It did not hinder the story, though, it was a passing thought while reading. The prose was enthralling enough to make me ignore it. I also wanted Daniel to let go of his previous lives a little more. I want to know what happens when he stops thinking of Sophia and his past. We get a little glimpse, but it’s not enough.
Though, I wish we could know more about Lucy. There were so many more things I wish I knew about her. I wanted to know about her sister, Dana. I wish I knew more about her relationship with her parents and even more about Marnie, her best friend. Oh, and Ben! Daniel’s best friend. More of him, please. He had the potential to be a fascinating character if given more page time. I know that there was potential here for more of everything. There were so many avenues left unfinished. In the end, it is a love story between a boy and girl. So it’s okay knowing their love has spanned thousands of years even if the present isn’t filled in too well. Despite all the unanswered questions, I greatly enjoyed reading this interesting love story. It’s not everyday one reads about souls reincarnating, keeping their memories, and falling in love.
From what I understand, there at one point was supposed to be a sequel but the publisher decided against it? Unsure. The book certainly leaves on a certain kind of cliffhanger. It’s the kind where you really wish you could find out what happens to Daniel and Lucy next but are also content in where it leaves you. I hope one day they decide to publish it. There are people out there who want to know what happens! Let this serve as my formal plea to Ann Brashares. If anything, I will accept a self-published ebook. It doesn’t have to be perfect!