Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Name is Memory - Anne Brashares

Australian/UK
US

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.  
Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.  (from goodreads)

Thanks to that slightly epic synopsis, I can now move straight on to what I thought about the book ;)

At first I wasn't sure if I would read it all - the first chapter, while definitely compelling, is pretty intense with the depth of romance and the soul mate connection thing and I wasn't sure if it was a too hard-core love story for my taste...

However, it swiftly moves along in chapters that not only alternate in POV, but also in time periods including ancient settings and exotic and varied locations around the world. While a lot of these chapters recounted the love and history between Daniel and Sophie (Lucy) they were not so focused on the love, but on the tragedy.

Reading Daniel's chapters had the feel of reading a fable and stories of old, lyrical and sometimes powerful. The writing had a lovely lilting feel to it.

What I liked:



  • The settings. Brashares really did an outstanding job of taking the story around the world and each time period felt authentic.
  • I loved the little stories of past lives, people long gone, often having lived a haunting tale. There were some moving anecdotes and scenes hidden in there.
  • The whole way she created her reincarnation-lore was pretty awesome and intriguing and it made a cool premise. Yeah, I think she pulled it off.
  • It's impressive, all she fit in, from war to ancient times to college and the early 1900's Each time period felt authentic and fresh.


What I would have liked:


  • Would it have been too much to add in a little humour of light-heartedness for some levity? After a while, I was all, 'this is so damn depressing'. Tragedy after haunted moment after fated circumstance and just-missed-it timing. 
  • It's not a funny book. Okay, that's stating the obvious, but I seriously did not smile or laugh once. Okay, I may have smirked in a passionate moment, haha. What can I say, occasional melodrama amuses me. I always like to have a little smile every now and then while reading, just saying.
  • Towards the end, I felt Daniel's lives were all a blur of depression, he felt soul-weary and I can't think of things he enjoyed in life apart from thinking about Sophie and pining for her. He felt like he was narrating the tragedy's of his life. Was their love really that strong that everything pales in comparison? Although, he did occasionally impress me with glimpses of talent and every now and then he surprised me with something resembling a personality. Haha.
  • Why do hard-core romance books sometimes make me feel cynical? I should be ashamed of myself. (why is this a bullet point? *shrugs*)


Recommended: If you love romance and haunting stories of ancient lives, this is definitely for you. Seriously, I can think of people who would love this. It's got the potential to have girls swooning over the tortured soul who loves his girl with his whole being to die for her (I am not being cynical here, really). Also, it's got a fabulous premise and is well written :)

Okay, so I liked reading it and I'm going with three stars.


Suddenly I feel like my review turned a bit harsh?

Covers: It's fairly obvious to me that the Aussie/UK is the winner. I love the font and the purple and yellow. nice.

You don't agree? What is with the US one? I don't even know what that cover is trying to make me feel or why that would entice me to pick it up... Enlighten me.



And, yeah: in case you didn't realise, this is the same author of The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. It's being marketed as a YA/Adult Fic crossover.

13 comments:

  1. interesting! Sounded cool, but your review gave me pause. Maybe I'll add it to the TBR pile, but at the bottom.
    And the butterfly cover wins hands down. way cooler.

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  2. Ah, Nomes. You are my soul sister. The last movie I went to see in theaters *cough* The Last Airbender *cough* had one 'passionate moment' that I literally had to cover my mouth through. I would've bust up laughing if my friend hadn't been giving me evil eyes. :)

    I've been on the fence about this one, but seeing as how there's no humor (I needz the funny) it just got moved down the mental to-read list.

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  3. @ KO - really it was interesting. I did like reading it but am not so used to such hard-core love and devotion.

    @ Cara - we are so the same. I am constantly amusing myself in movies at the worst of moments. and you might like this book, I did enough to read it all. its written pretty spectacularly :)

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  4. I've been wanting to read this-- and I loved the way you wrote your review. I'm glad that Ann managed to pull off such an epic-sounding plot, although less-than-effective melodrama kinda detracts from it. Thanks for the great review! :D

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  5. I'm not sure this is for me.to I love humor and "damn depressing" isn't appealing to me. I can appreciate good writing but... Anyway, I really enjoyed your review. Thanks!

    Alyssa
    Teens Read and Write

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  6. Thanks for your comment on my review of Beautiful Malice! You should definitRoy read it asap! And Big W is da bomb. :) Their prices are awesome!!

    Interesting review, I've neve read anything by Anne Bradshares myself, though I'm hesitant to start now... Hmm. And the Australian cover is the definite winner here. The US one is just so bland!!

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  7. Oh dear, my name came up as SSS!! haha, that's really random!

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  8. Wow! That kind of sounds brilliant, lol. But I really do like it when books have some sort of 'comic relief'.

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  9. Great review as always. First off, I like the UK cover better - I'm a sucker for flowers. I'm not sure if I'd like this either. I like sappy romance, but if I were to read something about romance I'd want to see a little bit of fun in it too.

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  10. Fantastic review! I have THE LAST SUMMER (OF YOU AND ME) by Ann Brashares on my TBR shelf, but I'll have to add this one, too.

    I feel cynical reading romances whenever they tend toward being overly serious.

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  11. Hmmm, the premise sounds fascinating, but I (also) am not into the whole hard core romance thing.

    And, regarding your comment on my blog, my revision process scares me, too. :D

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  12. A great way to write a review. I enjoyed the sound of this, but not sure it's for me.

    I've tagged you over at my blog. Please say yes..:)

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  13. As much as I loved Ann Brashares' other books, I was hesitant about this. Seemed windingly winding (uh..) but I still might just pick it up.

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Thanks for the commenty love <3