A recent bout with a kidney stone left me with a lot of time on my hands to read. I didn’t really want to read deep, heavy stuff that required a lot of concentration and attention because I didn’t have any to give. That led me to this little bit of fluff by Ann Brashares. It seemed to fit my criteria and it had a reincarnation theme, so I downloaded it to my iPad reader and started to read.
If the name Ann Brashares rings a bell, it is because she is the author who created the Traveling Pants. I haven’t actually read any of the Traveling Pants books (I think they might be teen books,) but I have a hunch that My Name is Memory is somewhat of a departure for her.
The book tells the story of Daniel and Sophia. At it’s heart, it is a love story – but with a twist. Daniel and Sophia have a complicated karmic relationship, and it appears that they’ve been trying to get together for lifetimes. The first time Daniel sees Sophia, for instance, he kills her while he is burning down her family’s hut in a tribal war.
Daniel remembers all of his lives. Every time he comes back, he remembers who he has been in the past, and he always calls himself Daniel no matter what his current parental units have named him. Sophia, on the other hand, is a forgetter. She has not a clue who she is or that she has met Daniel before. This life is no exception. As a young woman named Lucy, she meets Daniel in high school and immediately gets freaked out when he tries to tell her of their past lives together.
Reincarnation stories have always fascinated me, so I was looking forward to this one. At the same time, I’m not a fan of romances, and that may have come into play for me. I have to say – I was disappointed. I have a few requirements for me to really enjoy and appreciate a work of fiction:
1. The characters have to be well-developed enough that you understand their motivations.
2. The plot needs to be interesting enough to keep my attention.
3. The book needs to have some kind of an ending that ties up the story.
Unfortunately, I felt that My Name Is Memory didn’t meet these requirements. The characters are never really fully fleshed out, and one is left wondering how Daniel can be so attached to Sophia after lifetimes. The plot jumps through time and moves well. It’s easy to get a sense of the timelines of the characters. It kept me moving through the book even though I wasn’t particularly in love with the story line or characters. The ending, however, seems to be written for only one thing – a sequel. There really is no ending to the book. Rather, the ending appears to be a pause in the action so that the author can catch her breath before moving on to the next book.
In the end, I actually got what I was looking for in the moment and wound up being somewhat disappointed as a result. I got a light, fizzy summer read that was more style than substance. Would I recommend it? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a book that really explores the topic of reincarnation through characters and plot, then you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for light, frothy summer reading that will most likely result in a sequel, then this book is for you.