Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review/ My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares is the most haunting love story I have ever read. Told in alternating points of view and jumping from past to present, Brashares evocative prose brilliantly intertwines plot, characterization, and setting to explore the realm of past lives and brings a new meaning to the phrase “undying love.”

The complexity of this novel’s plot is mind boggling. The fact that Daniel has lived more “than a thousand years” and has “died countless times” in and of itself would seem an impossible undertaking to explain in a little over three-hundred pages. However, Brashares masterfully weaves Daniel’s past with the present, including yet another layer to the story through Lucy’s point of view. At the beginning of the story, Brashares introduces Lucy, a seventeen-year-old girl who is inexplicably drawn to Daniel. When after two years Daniel finally approaches Lucy and tries to explain to her that she is Sophia (Daniel’s soul mate), Lucy becomes frightened and runs away, leaving Daniel desperately alone. From there, Brashares reveals, layer after layer, the emotional nature of Daniel’s unrequited love. In the meantime, Lucy continues with her life, but can never totally forget Daniel or her unexplainable attachment to him. As if Daniel’s need to find a way to connect with Lucy is not conflict enough, Brashares adds even more tension, which at the end had me riveted to the page in fear that the Daniel and Lucy were not going to connect yet again.

Daniel’s voice and story is mesmerizing. I was literally transported back in time to the different historical settings where Daniel’s new lives take him. His quest to find Sophia is fraught with disappointment after disappointment and his heartbreak became mine. It becomes clear that the only way Daniel’s soul could find peace is for he and Sophia to find happiness together. And so each lifetime he searches for his one true love. Unfortunately, unlike Daniel, Sophia does not have the memory of her past lives, so each time Daniel finds her he must find a way to explain their connection. At one point in the story as he is trying to convince Constance (one of Sophia’s lives) he begs ...

“Please believe me ... This didn’t happen by accident. You have been with me from the very first life. You are my first memory every time, the single thread in all my lives. It’s you who makes me a person.”

I don’t know about you but if someone ever told me that I would be melting like butter.

One of the most dazzling elements of this story was Brashares’ descriptions of Daniel’s memories and his understanding of life and death.
People sometimes talk about the power of first impressions, and believe me, there is truth to it. The path of your life can change in a n instant. Not just eh path of your life but the path of all your lives, the path of your soul. Whether you remember or not. It makes you want to think hard before you act.

Death is an unknowable place, but I have learned something about it over time. My state of consciousness after death and before birth is not like the normal state of waking and living, but I do have perceptions and memories from those times. It’s hard for me to gauge how time passes in those dark transitions.
and
In my shameless heart, I’ve always hoped that Sophia and I would become whole together. I hate that phrase (along with the term “soul mates”), but I can’t think of a better way to say it. I’ve always thought I could ease my sins and make myself a better person through her. I’ve had the gall to think I could love her better than anyone else could. I’ve always feared she would find completion without me, and I’d be around, stupid and unperfected, forever.

The only aspect of the novel that had me scratching my head was the introduction of Lucy's sister, Dana, who committed suicide before the action of the story began. While this fact did provide information about Lucy's background, I expected it to tie into the story later on, but it never did. 

My Name is Memory is a fantastic journey that explores the power love has even over death, and one I urge you to experienced for yourself!

Source: Purchased

6 comments:

This Miss Loves to Read said...

Wonderful review! I am putting this book on my TBR list, you have me convinced. Thanks for sharing!

Christina T said...

After reading your review I think I may have to buy this one instead of waiting for my library to get it. It sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing all those lovely quotes too. I can't believe this is the same author that wrote The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (I loved that but it sounds like a totally different writing style). Great review!

Shweta said...

This is a beautiful review Jan. I am on a book buying ban but with a story teller talking that way I am all set to cave in and buy this one :)

Aleksandra said...

Wow, great review! I'll add it on my list!

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

I just got this from my library today! Very excited to read it after your review :)

xx

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