Thursday 26 August 2010

MY NAME IS MEMORY by Ann Brashares

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 spent centuries meeting and falling in love with the same girl over and over and over again. Life after reincarnated life, generation after generation, spanning continents and dynasties, he and Lucy have been drawn together - and though he can never tell her, he remembers it all. He has the gift, or the curse, of 'the memory' - the ability to recall past lives and recognize the reincarnated souls he has known.

The problem is, the force that draws Lucy and Daniel together also always tears them painfully, fatally apart, to the point that he has started trying to protect her from falling in love with him and the heartbreak he knows it will bring.

This was one of those books that I had a good feeling about as soon as I read the blurb. That feeling continued when I started to read it, because I found myself captivated by it. Any time that I could sneak in another chapter, I did. Until I just had to sit down to read the last 100 pages in one sitting.

This is the story of Daniel. He's lived for a very long time, but not in the same body. He's actually died many times, and is reborn every time. His soul keeps going, but so does his memory. Actually, although there are other people in the world like him, he's even unique amongst them. Why? Because he can remember everything he learned, experienced, and felt in each and every life he's lived.

This is also the story of Lucy. She's only a teenager when she meets the mysterious, brooding and quiet Daniel. She can't understand why, but she's drawn to him, fascinated by his weirdness. And although they haven't exchanged a word during high school, she can't help but be interested in him. Yet, she doesn't know why. Not until the night of the Senior Ball. The night where she meets him in a dark room and shares a special moment with him that quickly turns into a confusing and scary situation. That's the night she walks away from him and his weirdness, walks away from the guy who calls her by another girl's name.

After this, we go back in time with Daniel. Back to North Africa 541, when his ordeal with the woman he would eternally love began. The turbulent and bizarre circumstances behind their adventurous love was dizzying, and heart-breaking.

Not only did I love the way the story weaved in from the present to the past, each new chapter adding depth and throwing me deeper into this very complicated but lovely love story, but I also loved the way it was written. Both Daniel and Lucy's voice were amazing at grabbing my attention, and whenever we were taken back to another time and place with Daniel, I felt his intimate portrayal was wonderful. More of a vivid experience than just reading words off a page.

I also didn't expect there to be a nemisis, but was pleasantly surprised when one was introduced. As well as a 'mystic' soul called Ben that I find myself wanting to know more about.

My Name Is Memory is an enduring and fascinating love story that spans through the ages. The tale of a romance that most of the time feels one-sided because although Daniel can remember every detail of the past and sometimes even plays it to his advantage, Lucy takes a long while to accept and give into the way she feels, as well as what she really is. But in the process, almost winds up getting herself killed. 

I really, really enjoyed this wonderful book. Loved it! I also have to admit that I was sad when it ended. I wanted to know more, so much more... This has found a place on my keeper shelf. :)

My Name is Memory, June 2010, ISBN 978-144-471077-9, H&S Fiction Paperback (C)

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