Tuesday, 16 August 2011

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares (4/5)

The back says: Not everyone believes in the existence of ‘the one’, the love of our life that we are destined to find, but Daniel knows it’s real. How could he not?

He has the gift of ‘the memory’, the ability to recall past lives and recognise the reincarnated souls he has known. He has spent centuries meeting and falling in love with the same girl over and over and over again. Life after reincarnated life, generation after generation, he and Lucy have been drawn together – and though he can never tell her, he remembers it all.

But the force that draws Lucy and Daniel together also inevitably draws them painfully, sometimes fatally, apart. Now, he has started trying to stop her from falling in love with him, to protect her from the heartbreak he knows will follow.

I say: I fell in love with this after I read the first sentence; "I have lived more than a thousand years." And it lasted up until the last few chapters, and completely dissolved when I realised this is the first in a planned trilogy.

Of course.

All books are trilogies these days, and I really need to start research prior to reading.


I love the premise of this novel, and I love the way the novel was laid out. However, the writing left a lot to be desired, probably because it's meant to be a YA novel (according to the library, but not Ann Brashares' website). For a story this beautiful I would have wanted a more beautiful prose. Brashares manages it a few times, but mostly it unremarkably hobbles along. The second thing that sort of bothered me was that Lucy's character was never fleshed out properly. She kept going on and on about how she was Lucy and not her previous lives, and yet Brashares didn't bother showing us how she was different.

Or maybe she was just a boring person.

The third thing was the whole 'vendetta' business. I'm thinking that Brashares needed something to keep people interested in her sequels (since a love story can't just be a love story, there has to be some sort of adversary in the picture) and this was it. Well, rather than being interesting I found it annoying and extremely forced.

What I did like about the novel was how Brashares presented the whole aspect of souls and memory. A lot of the things Daniel explained echo some of my own beliefs, and it was nice to read a novel where the writer seems to have thought of almost all of the issues surrounding it. I also liked Daniel and Ben and the way we got to follow Daniel through the most significant episodes of his life. I especially like the way she treated the life he lead before the present one and the way that made him rethink how he had been living so far.

It's such a shame about the ending.

I won't be reading the sequels (I always say that and then wind up doing it anyway) because I'm not interested in anything else that may happen to these people. What I wanted was a nice love story with a twist, and I almost got that. As far as I'm concerned the story ended the way it did - miserably and ridiculously so, and that's that.

I want to give this a 3/5 because of the ending, but at the same time everything apart from that (and the writing) would be a 5, so I'm compromising it into a 4.

Spoiler question and the reason why I'm so disappointed after the jump…

This whole deal with Joaquim's grudge against Daniel was what made me really annoyed with this; it just didn't make any sense. If either of them kill each other, they'll just come back and Joaquim will go looking for Daniel and Lucy again. Forever. It's like an endless loop that makes no sense. I'm sure Brashares will come up with a reason for somebody's soul to expire, but even so...

Such a shame, really.

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