Review: My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares

Title: My Name is Memory

Author: Ann Brashares

Genre/Pages: Fiction/336

Publication: Riverhead Books; June 1, 2010

Rating: 3.5 Bookmarks

Source: Review copy courtesy of publisher

 

Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis: A love story that spans centuries, My Name Is Memory tells the tale of Daniel and Sophia, time-crossed lovers who face insurmountable obstacles in each lifetime that keep them from ever being fully united as a couple.

But it was smell that carried memory.  Smell was like the wormhole connecting you to the other parts of your life.  Memories of smell didn’t fade, and they short-circuited your entire psychology–they didn’t tunnel through endless experience or get loaded down by any part of your conscious mind.  They stitched you instantly and fully to your other times, without regard to sequence.  It was the closest thing to time travel on this earth.

With that passage, Ann Brashares hooked me.  Though not a new concept, I really related to that passage.  I read this book in one sitting–staying up until the wee hours to finish it, forgetting it’s part of a trilogy, so the resolution I was dying for never materialized.

I enjoyed so many aspects of this book–the story of Daniel and Sophia, the historical context, the conflicts, and the frustration stemming from the missed connections and lost opportunties the couple faced.  When Daniel and Sophia (Lucy, in her most recent reincarnation) are first introduced, they are in 11th grade; by the end of the novel, several years have passed and they are in their twenties.

Daniel has the power to remember his past lives while Sophia doesn’t.  He finds Sophia in each of their shared lives and tries to remind her of their shared past.  I was able to fall into the story and accept the time travel aspect without drawing parallels between My Name is Memory and The Time Traveler’s Wife–these are two different novels.

The main issue I had with this novel is one that might make it more popular with some readers.  Daniel’s love for Sophia, and later hers for him, is almost obsessive, a la Bella and Edward of Twilight.  He tracks her across continents and centuries, his words and actions closer to what some women might dream of than of what (most) men would really say or do.  Finding a man like Daniel might be a challenge–he wouldn’t exist without a dose of Brashares’s imagination!

Another sticking point is that this book is marketed as adult fiction but speaks more to a late teen, 20-something demographic.  There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with this, but I think this book will have greater appeal to those on the younger end of the adult reader spectrum.

Those things aside, My Name is Memory was a really good read and it held my attention to the last page.  I’m eagerly anticipating the next two installments!

22 Comments

  • At 2010.06.01 13:07, Steph said:

    When I read about this one, it sounded very Bella & Edward to me too! And as you may or may not know, I am not one of those Twihards… I do think the concept of the story is interesting though, and can see it appealing to a lot of readers. Who can resist such a sweeping saga, really?
    .-= Steph´s last blog ..Amazing Adobo Pork =-.

    • At 2010.06.01 23:02, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

      i’m a sucker for series-type books myself. it does have hints of B&E but it has more depth. it’s not quite pride and prejudice or any of the other classic romances, but i wouldn’t categorize it as a chick-lit novel either.

    • At 2010.06.01 13:15, Connie said:

      Sounds like something I would enjoy! Thanks!
      .-= Connie´s last blog ..A Revolution of Kindness =-.

      • At 2010.06.01 13:30, dw said:

        i haven’t read twilight yet, but i can see how that obsessive kind of love can be a turn off for the book.

        i’ve seen this book around a lot lately, but i had no idea it was part of a trilogy. it definitely sounds interesting so i’m going to have to add it to my wish list. who knows when i’ll actually get around to reading it though.. too many books to conquer..
        .-= dw´s last blog ..Goodbye May, Hello June =-.

        • At 2010.06.01 13:33, Kari said:

          Despite your likening the love story to that of Twilight, I think I’ll have to check this one out. I like epic love stories unless they involve boring, ridiculous teens and vampires.
          .-= Kari´s last blog ..Reading Notes: When Everything Changes, Part 2 =-.

          • At 2010.06.01 23:00, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

            kari, no sparkling vampires here–you’re safe! it’s more sophisticated than twilight if only because of the details and imagery of civilizations and lives dating back to 500. i did enjoy this one despite the things i pointed out in my review.

          • At 2010.06.01 14:50, jess said:

            This sounds like a great read — thanks for the review!
            .-= jess´s last blog ..It’s Monday! What are you reading? — 6/1 =-.

            • At 2010.06.01 15:09, softdrink said:

              So are the other two books going to be more of Daniel stalking Sophia through the ages? Cause I don’t think I could handle that. Of course, I’m not in my twenties anymore. 😀
              .-= softdrink´s last blog ..Pearl of China =-.

              • At 2010.06.01 22:59, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

                no, no! daniel and sophia/lucy are finally together in contemporary time but now are facing an ancient and menacing character who is seeking to avenge things that happened in past lives.

                despite how melodramatic it sounds, it actually is an entertaining read. 🙂

              • At 2010.06.01 20:22, Jenners said:

                A book that echoes The TIme Traveler’s Wife and Twilight??????? I think I need to read this!
                .-= Jenners´s last blog ..June Giveaway =-.

                • At 2010.06.01 22:57, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

                  lol. it was a good read, especially for fans of twilight. it’s not quite the same, but does echo the push-pull romance replete with all kinds of fun obstacles!

                • At 2010.06.02 11:11, Meg said:

                  This absolutely sounds right my alley — now I’m desperate to get my hands on it! I’m totally with you: that passage regarding smell and memory is spot-on.

                  To this day, I can’t smell Curve for Men cologne without involuntarily shuttering at the memory of high school boyfriends dousing themselves in it, then trying to plant their lips all over me. Curve = horror.

                  But that’s just me. And, you know, neither here nor there. But that’s just the kind of friend and blog commenter I am, haha 🙂
                  .-= Meg´s last blog ..New York weekend: The Book Blogger Convention =-.

                  • At 2010.06.02 11:38, Aths said:

                    I did come across the marketed-as-adult-fiction-but-written-for-ya sentiment earlier in another review. I have this book for review and plan to read it soon. Good review, glad you enjoyed the theme!
                    .-= Aths´s last blog ..Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman =-.

                    • At 2010.06.02 20:19, Sharla said:

                      I have this one on my shelf waiting to be read. Thanks for the heads up on the obsessive relationship stuff. I’m also not in my 20s anymore, but I’m glad to know it kept your interest. Sometimes, it is so hard to finish a book and give a review if you can’t get past the first 20 pages.
                      .-= Sharla´s last blog ..June: Mega Month of Book Giveaways =-.

                      • At 2010.06.02 21:51, Kathleen said:

                        Since I still haven’t read Time Traveler’s Wife I wouldn’t have anything to compare this to so I could judge it by its own merits.

                        • At 2010.06.04 15:55, Alita said:

                          When I first heard of this book, the premise reminded me a bit of Fallen. And now you say it also reminded you of the Bella/Edward relationship? Hmmm. Although the idea of it really intrigues me, I might hold off on this one after all.
                          .-= Alita´s last blog ..Daddy-Long-Legs (the movie) =-.

                          • At 2010.06.05 09:58, Beth F said:

                            I barely skimmed this because I have the book here to read. It looks like it was a good read for you despite a problem or two.
                            .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Weekend Cooking: Review and Giveaway of SOS! by Aviva Goldfarb =-.

                            • At 2010.06.07 16:34, Jacqueline C. said:

                              I can see your point about his love being obsessive, but I thought that I was understandable given their extensive and tortured history. It’s not like he had just met the girl and had no sort of relationship with her. I agree with you that he is a touch too perfect though.

                              As for the target audience – it does have a YA feel, especially given the characters ages. Her first adult novel straddled that line too.

                              I enjoyed this book a lot and I’m glad that there will be more since I wasn’t expecting a cliffhanger.
                              .-= Jacqueline C.´s last blog ..In My Mailbox (29) =-.

                              • At 2010.06.11 00:17, kay said:

                                I’m not too fond of obsessive love stories, but this book still sounds like something I might enjoy. I might be completely wrong about that, but it seems to have a bit more depth that E&B? I’m glad you enjoyed it though, now I only need to get my own copy!
                                .-= kay´s last blog ..Comic : How my Cat Rules the House =-.

                                • At 2010.06.14 15:45, Jennifer said:

                                  I do really enjoy Ann Brashares’ writing. And this story sounds like a really great read. I will definitely be picking this one up. And another trilogy for me to get hooked on. Even better.

                                  • At 2010.07.14 08:16, A Southern Cousin said:

                                    I just started this one. I am 60 pages into it, and I am already hooked. She has some haunting prose that I find myself reading again and again. I read “The Last Summer (of You and Me)” and I enjoyed that one as well. Easy read, good for summer.

                                    • At 2010.07.18 10:20, A Southern Cousin said:

                                      Just finished. . . I enjoyed it, and found myself routing for Daniel and Lucy. . . frustrated that there was no resolution and closure. . . Anyone know how long until the next installment??

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