Friday, September 17, 2010

Julie's Review: My Name is Memory

My Name Is Memory Summary:  A romance that stretches across centuries and past lives constitutes the core of Brashares's varied second adult novel, the first in a planned trilogy. The story is primarily that of Daniel, as, in the present, he pursues Lucy (whom he knows as Sophia in a previous life) and attempts to persuade her of their history and destiny, but his passion initially and understandably scares her off. He disappears, presumed dead, but Lucy, unable to forget him, investigates his claims of their history until she discovers the truth. Meanwhile, Daniel takes readers on a tour of romantic near-misses, from sixth-century Africa through eighth-century Turkey to WWI. The story moves slowly and predictably, though when a plot finally materializes, Brashares (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) manages some satisfying momentum, even if the story begins to feel like it's borrowed from a James Patterson novel. Brashares's insights into human nature, meanwhile, should appeal to readers who enjoyed The Time-Traveler's Wife, but can appreciate a Nicholas Sparks-esque sensibility. ~ Publishers Weekly

Review: Let me first say this, I LOVED Time Traveler's Wife; therefore I don't take comparisons to that book lightly. Frankly, I don't think anything can/should be compared to that book. I haven't read anything like it since and probably won't again. That being said, there are parallels to it with My Name is Memory but for me the love story in this book isn't as epic as TTW. This is also my first Ann Brashares' novel, as I don't really read YA novels. (I did like the movies based on her Traveling Pants series though). Just like in TTW, you have to suspend belief in My Name Is Memory as well, unless of course you already believe in past lives; which I don't. The novel is about Daniel's quest over his lives to find his true love Sophia. They have met many times previously but this time he is determined to make it work between them. He does find Sophia, and she's currently in high school and living as Lucy. (Yes I know it could get confusing but it doesn't).

The premise behind the novel is that we all have past lives but Daniel and few others are special in the fact that they can remember theirs, not everyone does but everyone is left with marks from them. It is an interesting theory but let's just say I'm not sold.

Ms. Brashares spends a good portion of the book going between present day and back thousands of years to some of Daniel's past lives. These are the lives that were most important to him because these are where him and Sophia intersect. While I appreciated the stories on the back lives, I really wanted more of the story written in the present. I wanted more of Lucy's story. I wanted more of her journey and we do get that in the second part of the book.

For me the love story was one sided for most of the book until Lucy starts to have her revelation. So for me, the love story isn't epic. Did I buy that these two people needed to be together? By the end yes but during the story, not so much. I felt that Lucy had a long way to go to catch up with Daniel.

I loved Lucy's adventure. I loved how she discovered things about herself and how she took her fate into her own hands. She was courageous and strong. A wonderful role model for young women. Now, I wasn't as disappointed in the ending as Alice was (her review here) but I can understand why she was disappointed. Essentially, there is no resolution. This leads me to believe it's a series or maybe a trilogy. I would love a trilogy. This book dealt with the past, the next one firmly planted in the present and the final book in the future. Makes sense to me. :) I did think that the book dragged a bit in places but it definitely picked up towards the middle.

I did read that My Name Is Memory has been optioned for a movie. Whether it gets made, is another story.

It wasn't that characters that I thought about when I would put this book down but the subject matter. In fact, thinking about past lives one night gave me only 5 hours of sleep. It wasn't my past lives I was pondering but my kids. Do we have them and if so, why? I guess if you were Hindu you definitely believe in them, right? I also had a conversation with my hubby about it. He said it was only 9am and this was more of a conversation for night with a bottle of wine. :) He said he used to believe in past lives but not so much anymore. He also said either we all have past lives or none of us have them. Interesting thought, yes?

So if you are looking for a love story that will jar your brain into other ideas about souls, then My Name Is Memory is the book for you.

Final Take: 3.75/5



Julie P September 17, 2010 at 1:23 AM  

Great review--thanks for sharing. This one is on my TBR list. As far as TTW goes, I read it and thought it was good (not great, just good).....

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