book review: My Name is Memory

Title: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
ISBN: 978-1594487583
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (June 1, 2010)
Category: modern fiction/ women’s fiction
Review source: publisher
Rating: 2.5/5

After reading My Name is Memory, I thought: is it possible that a successful young adult author [The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series] cannot always make a transition to a successful adult author? It takes an extremely tapped in and versatile writer to write for a number of audiences. Not that younger readers don’t read adult books and older readers don’t read YA books. Those are classics. My point is that not every writer can be Meg Cabot: writing convincingly about children, teens, and adults. My Name is Memory is similar in genesis to The Time Traveler’s Wife, yet hardly as moving. It can be considered part historical fiction, which must have required quite a bit of research for author Ann Brashares. At first glance, I thought My Name is Memory would be a quick read but I just wasn’t all that interested in the characters.

In My Name is Memory we are introduced to a romance between Daniel and Sophia, now named Lucy in present day. The romantic part begins during high school when Lucy feels a strong attraction to Daniel. Of course, this can easily be called a crush. What we soon find out is that Daniel has known Sophia since the year 541 in North Africa. He’s hung up on Sophia, whose house he burned down with her in it as part of a resistance movement fighting an uprising. Oh, the innocence of a blossoming romance in one’s youth. That’s right. Daniel isn’t a time traveler but he keeps being reincarnated, as we learn many people are, and he remembers each past life quite vividly, something that not everyone does. To avoid confusing himself, Daniel calls himself Daniel in every reincarnation whether in Africa, Asia Minor, or Virginia. Throughout all his various lives—mostly in Europe and America—he sees Sophia in her various other lives. In our present day, it seems now is the time for the two to finally connect at the same age.

Why does Daniel love Sophia on sight alone? Brashares never provides a solid answer to that question. The past lives of Daniel are somewhat intriguing but My Name is Memory drags on. I’m going to blame the Twilight-effect. It’s the lust-love of one’s youth and I don’t find it productive to romanticize it because the young woman usually gives up her future goals for the young man. Lucy does go to college and then graduate school but she constantly thinks of Daniel and goes exploring what she believes are weird dreams that he explained to her in high school as past lives. At the time, she thought this to be [understandably] the most bizarre and scary thought. She barely has a social life now. And when the two finally connect? A night of passionate unprotected sex and Lucy finds herself pregnant from the one encounter. My Name is Memory is far more of a cautionary tale than a love story. I just didn’t buy into it.

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My Name Is Memory

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