Book Review: My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares


I was introduced to this book through a review in Marie Claire magazine (I think! It might have been Glamour) a couple of months ago and I immediately knew that I wanted to read it. The story is about reincarnation at its soul (no pun intended), but rest assured it's neither religious nor preachy, so I wouldn't let that be an impediment unless you're staunchly against the idea of people having multiple lives. The basic plot revolves around Daniel Grey and his love for Lucy Broward, only this is no typical love story. You see, Daniel and Lucy first fell in love thousands of years ago in their first lives, and have just reconnected in the present day. How is this possible, you ask? Well, Daniel possesses the special ability to remember all of his past lives and can even recognize souls in their new bodies. He's thus been chasing Lucy throughout time, and acting ast the catalyst for their love to endure. The problem is that Lucy does not have the same memory that Daniel does, so with each new life it becomes his quest to find her soul and remind her of their everlasting love.

The story takes the reader through multiple geographies, cultures and periods in time, most notably the Byzantine Empire, World War I, and 60s/70s, as Daniel chronicles his many lives, families, joys and even deaths. The chapters alternate between Daniel and Lucy's past and present, allowing Lucy's awakening to evolve slowly as the reader comes to understand the pleasures and consequences brought on by Daniel's "gift." The best part is perhaps the cliff hanger ending, which, although it's a bit frustrating as you develop an innate desire to wrap up all of the loose ends, is also a plus because it means Ann Brashares is out there penning an equally beautifully written sequel. I know I will be first in line to read it! (Keep in mind, I have no confirmation that there is in fact a sequel planned; rather I just assume there is given the way the book ended.) You also might be interested to know that this book was optioned to become a film, so there's a chance that we could be seeing a big-screen version sometime soon!

In my opinion, you'll like this book if:
- You are fascinated by historical fiction
- You like science-fiction "lite" (this is not as "out there" as Twilight, but it certainly has a sci-fi bend)
- You enjoy writing that "shows" rather than "tells": Brashares writes very fluidly, with lots of descriptors
- You like love stories, but don't care for the gaudy and cheesy sex scenes in romance novels
- You're a fan of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants -- this is the same author!

Naturally, My Name is Memory is sold wherever books are sold; however, because it's new, it's only in hardcover right now and retails for nearly $25. If possible, see if your local library has received a copy yet -- mine had!

3 comments :

  1. Hey :) Nice review, but I have to say that My Name Is Memory (though a fantastic book) is almost exactly the same to Lauren Kate's 'Fallen'. In Fallen, the hero's name is Daniel Grigori. In Memory, the hero's name is Daniel Grey. In Fallen, the girl's name is Luce. In Memory, it is Lucy. In both books, the guy can remember the love from all the girl's past lives, but she can't remember except in little flashes. Even the cover art is similar. Look them both up, read them both, then tell me I'm right.

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  2. Hi there Anonymous! I really appreciate your comment and I did some research as a result of it. You are right that there are certain details that are strikingly similar, but what puts a slight hitch in your theory are the publication dates. Fallen was published in December '09 and My Name is Memory was published in June '10. Publishers generally buy the rights to a book more than a year (sometimes two) before it actually goes to print, so it is highly unlikely that Ms. Brashares could have received a copy of Fallen, written a copy-cat story, submitted it to a publisher and had it printed only 6 months after Fallen came out in stores. Although I'm by no means a representative of Ms. Brashares, and can't entirely speak for her, it just seems very unlikely that she would have intentionally copied anything.

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  3. I like My Name is Memory than Fallen. It's a hundred times better. I bought Fallen before and was greatly disappointed by how it was written. Now when i saw My Name is Memory, it took me 3 years to actually read it because i find the synopsis very similar to Fallen and was afraid that i'll be disappointed as well. Well, lo and behold, was i ever surprised by how different they are! I'm even looking up for the sequel of MNIM now... :)

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