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My Name is Memory Paperback – June 7, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A romance that stretches across centuries and past lives constitutes the core of Brashares's varied second adult novel, the first in a planned trilogy. The story is primarily that of Daniel, as, in the present, he pursues Lucy (whom he knows as Sophia in a previous life) and attempts to persuade her of their history and destiny, but his passion initially and understandably scares her off. He disappears, presumed dead, but Lucy, unable to forget him, investigates his claims of their history until she discovers the truth. Meanwhile, Daniel takes readers on a tour of romantic near-misses, from sixth-century Africa through eighth-century Turkey to WWI. The story moves slowly and predictably, though when a plot finally materializes, Brashares (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) manages some satisfying momentum, even if the story begins to feel like it's borrowed from a James Patterson novel. Brashares's insights into human nature, meanwhile, should appeal to readers who enjoyed The Time-Traveler's Wife, but can appreciate a Nicholas Sparks-esque sensibility. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

On the heels of recent film adaptations of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, Brashares’ second novel for adults taps into the growing appetite for romances thwarted by extraordinary tricks of time. Virginia high-school student Lucy is inexplicably drawn to classmate Daniel, but when he claims to have known her before, a thoroughly unsettled Lucy flees. Gradually, Lucy learns the impossible truth: Daniel has been chasing her through ages and lives for 1,200 years. In chapters that alternate viewpoints between the two lovers, past and present, the couples’ unrequited desire builds, even as a murderous soul threatens their reunion. Steamy bedroom scenes aside, the coming-of-age sensibility will feel familiar to crossover adult fans of Brashares’ best-selling Traveling Pants series for teens. Readers tantalized by the possibilities of past lives and soul-mate connections will devour this unabashed romance, which has the heart-pounding pace and tone of a beach novel, and hope for the sequel hinted at in the open ending. Suggest John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) while they wait. --Gillian Engberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781594485183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594485183
  • ASIN: 1594485186
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ann Brashares is the bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants, Forever in Blue, The Last Summer (of You and Me), and My Name is Memory.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Ann Brashares's work since I first picked up Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, Book 1) when I was fourteen years old. I've read everything that she's published since then, including her first adult novel, The Last Summer (of You and Me). What I've enjoyed most about her novels is her ability to make her stories feel so real. That may not seem like such a great feat considering that everything she's written thus far has been realistic fiction. However, if you pick up My Name is Memory, you'll understand what I mean.

Daniel and Lucy's story is of a fantastic nature. The premise is predicated on the idea of reincarnation which, whether you believe in it or not, lends a supernatural element to the tale. The themes of love, loss and danger, however, are what grounds it in reality and what, in my opinion, makes it truly awe-inspiring.

What I loved most about this book were the flashbacks, which were mostly told from Daniel's viewpoint. Brashares's premise isn't all that unique. There are plenty of love stories about people who have loved each other across time and space. They often fail, though, by not adequately drawing these potentially epic relationships. My Name is Memory excels at this. Not only do we get a complete understanding of why and how these two individuals came to love each so much, but we also are treated to wonderfully illustrated historical backdrops and landscapes. The rich settings go a long way in enhancing the overall story.
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Format: Hardcover
First and foremost, My Name is Memory is a powerful love story. Daniel is described as an old soul -- his soul has lived through countless reincarnations and he remembers each of his past lives. In the world that Ann Brashares creates, there are a handful of old souls who retain memories of their past lives. Everyone else lives their lives with their slates clean, with no clear memories of past experiences. Though Brashares suggests that the occasional sense of affinity that we have with people may have come from a friendship or a tie in a previous life. The few that retain memories of past lives can usually trace this ability or "long memory" to a deep trauma or a strong affinity of sorts. Of the old souls, Daniel stands out since his memory reaches back over 1,500 years to the time that he first met and fell in love with Sophia.

Daniel's memory comes from his love of Sophia, as if he wills himself to remember everything about her. His love and fate lead Daniel to retain these memories each time he is reborn. Somehow Daniel and Sophia are reborn within similar times. They encounter each other in different cultures and continents over 1,500 years. Daniel remembers his past lives starting from when he first met Sophie in 520 A.D. to each of his reincarnations. In all the different reincarnations, Daniel knows Sophia. But equal to his joy in finding her is his disappointment that Sophia never recognizes Daniel.

Daniel learns how to carry over skills and wealth from one life to another. He's skilled in medicine, in business, and in most trades. In each rebirth, Daniel prepares to meet Sophia and with each new encounter he is equally surprised and moved.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By TBF2013 on December 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The ending of this book is deeply unsatisfying and even a bit nonsensical, so I am hoping that there will indeed be a sequel as the rumors suggest. I don't always expect books to wrap all the loose ends into a neatly tied bow by the ending; often that makes for contrived and predictable storytelling, but this book really <had> no ending. The romantic parts are a bit cheesey, and I found some parts to be artificially convenient (Joaquim's ability to body-snatch, for example; it's never really explained by the author how this one person with The Memory can avoid being born as an infant and somehow "take over" a grown adult's body). On the whole, it was a very entertaining story; an easy read without being too juvenile or overly simplistic. I am looking forward to a sequel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hope Elizabeth on July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I can't decide how much I enjoyed this book. The premise behind it was interesting, and I was very excited about reading it. You have Daniel, a young man who has been reincarnated many times over thousands of years and remembers his past lives struggling to connect with the love of his lives, Lucy, who does not remember hers. So what is the problem?

I liked the basic plot, but thought that the sections where Daniel tells about his past lives didn't flow very well. He has a tendency to go off on tangents which makes those sections a little confusing. Plus, his character is kind of weak. He waffles back and forth for too long before making up his mind to go talk to Lucy. Even after being warned that she could be in danger, he still has trouble deciding. Lucy's character; however, is much stronger and more sensible. She does her homework before believing his wild tale and at least tries to live a normal life for a while. But Daniel, through all his lives, is so obsessed with her that he can think of nothing else and insulates himself against the love from others which could make his seemingly unlimited lives more meaningful.

The end also bothered me. The story had been flowing along nicely drawing me in and making me care about the characters (when I wasn't aggravated with Daniel), then came the exciting part and I couldn't put the book down. All of sudden, boom, the book just ends with all kinds of unanswered questions. I've read in other reviews that there will be a sequel and possible trilogy; if so, they will probably answer everything.

I have to disagree with the comparisons some reviewers have made with "The Time Travelers Wife." The writing is on a completely different level, and while "My Name is Memory" may have whispers of similarity, they are just whispers.
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