My Name is Memory — Ann Brashares
In “My Name is Memory,” Lucy is your average teenage girl nursing a crush on the handsome and stoic Daniel. On the night of her prom she finds out he feels the same way. What begins romantically ends in disaster, and Lucy is driven away by things she doesn’t understand. It will be years before they meet again.
The story follows these star-crossed lovers, who through time, have been thwarted by age, situation or a looming presence. Daniel is one of the rare people who can remember all his lives; and in all those lives he has been searching for Lucy.
This lent itself to being a stimulating read because it explores the nature of love lifetime after lifetime, and also how the memory of previous lives could impact the way a person interacts. Would you cease to live life to its fullest knowing you would most likely wake up in another body sometime in the future? Would your attachments to people be less or more? Brashares examines this idea and gives it life in Daniel, who is unable to separate his original identity from all his later personas. As a result, he is always the same. On the flipside, Lucy does not recall pervious lifetimes and so initially balks when he calls her by the name Sophia, which is the first name he knew her as. My favorite character is Ben, also one of those rare souls who remembers their past lives. In life after life, his wisdom evolves through time, but he is able to embrace each lifetime singly.
This story was beautifully crafted. The development of Lucy’s character over a period of years kept the pages turning long into the night. Meanwhile, the story of Daniel’s previous lives with and without Lucy seeped with sadness and hope. It was one of those tales so poetic and philosophical, while also being heavy with plot, that it kept me reading well past my bedtime. For anyone who loves the buildup of a good romance and has a fascination with the concept of reincarnation, this book will oblige. It’s definitely re-read material. Found new on Amazon in hardcover for $2.27.