Title: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
Published: June 2010
Published By: Riverhead Books
Format Read: Kobo, eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Contemporary
Date Read: September 3 2015
Daniel may look like a typical teenage boy to classmate Lucy, but in reality he has lived longer than she could ever imagine and it just so happens that she has too. Unbeknownst to her, they have a long history together that goes all the way back to the Byzantium era. The reason Lucy doesn’t know this and he does it because he has an incredible memory that allows him to remember all of his past lives. When one life ends, a soul is reincarnated into another and there are very few people that have Daniel’s ability to remember past lives and recognize those they had previously known. The truth is that they are each other’s destiny. My Name is Memory is a multiple time period story of how the two characters encounter each other over many centuries, leading to modern day Virginia.
After reading Ann Brashares The Last Summer (Of You and Me), I was a bit worried that this book would follow in the same tone. However I was drawn in after reading the synopsis about the reincarnation plotline. This is a topic I haven’t read a lot about, but do find quite interesting.
In the beginning and closer to the end the switching perspectives of the narration were somewhat hard to follow. I wish that this would have been more consistent. Once I got into the story, I did enjoy the numerous time periods Daniel took the reader though. There were several that I wasn’t familiar with and this book definitely peeked my interest in expanding the eras I read about. I would have enjoyed learning more about these time periods, but I realise that this wasn’t the point of the story.
Another aspects of My Name is Memory, that I enjoyed were the short chapters. There were several quotes from this book (some I will list below) that were so beautiful and thought provoking, that I just had to re-read them over and over again. Aside from the reincarnation aspect, the story also touches a bit on hypnotism. This added another interesting element to the plot, one that really drew my interest.
Unfortunately the ending didn’t really satisfy me, as I feel it didn’t wrap up all of the loose ends. Joaquim was Daniel’s brother in one of the most pivotal lives he lead, and also his enemy. I felt that this characters storyline wasn’t explained in very much detail, leaving him feeling very unattached to the storyline. This also made me feel like the book was taking more of a sci-fi turn; a genre that doesn’t really interest me. For this reason I rated it a 3.5 stars.
Although I did have some issues with My Name is Memory, I would still recommend it to fans of Ann Brashares. I would also like to note that this book is listed as YA Lit, but I think that it would be best suited for more mature audiences due to language and some sexual content.
“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 did the searching and remembering, she did the disappearing and the forgetting.”
“You have been with me from the very first life. You are my first memory every time, the single thread in all of my lives. It`s you who makes me a person.”
“What if people knew they were recycled? Would that change anything?”
“I don’t know about heaven and hell, and I haven’t met God yet. But I have to admire the design.”