Review: My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares
Author: Ann Brashares
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!