Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Name is Memory

Daniel has been in love with Sophia for hundreds of years. He’s not a vampire or an immortal or a demon, but merely a human man who can remember his past lives. Daniel and Sophia’s lives have intertwined more than once and things usually end unhappily. In 2004, he has found her (now named Lucy) in Hopewood, Virginia with his ability to recognize souls he previously encountered. He purposefully avoids her for years through high school and finally tries to speak to her on the day before graduation. He only succeeds in frightening her with his talk of their past and pushing her away. They separate and Daniel figures it’s best if he no longer interferes in her life. A few years later, she can’t forget about him, so she researches some of his claims and tries to find him. A complication arises when Joaquim, Daniel’s brother from his first life, poses as Daniel and dates Lucy. Over the years, Joaquim has cultivated a hatred for Daniel and seeks to sabotage Daniel and Lucy’s relationship. Will Daniel seek Lucy out and realize what Joaquim is doing?

I didn’t really know what to expect from Anne Brashares since I haven’t read anything else that she’s written, but I was completely blown away by this book. I figured it would be cheesy and cliché because the basic plot has been done before. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Lucy and Daniel. Lucy’s narrative takes place in the present and features her journey from skepticism to acceptance and the discoveries she makes along the way. Daniel’s story, on the other hand, takes place largely in his past lives, showing how their lives have affected each other’s and how each of those lives has ended.

I enjoyed Daniel’s point of view more because of the span and depth of his memories. Brashares excels at creating different moods and settings for her characters with his narrative. It also showed why he has such strong feelings for Lucy, instead of just defaulting to fate. One aspect that I found especially interesting was that Daniel wasn’t present for any incredibly famous historical events. It would have been contrived if he had. He even points out that in the past before information could be instantly exchanged, important events went generally unnoticed to those in the rest of the world. It made the fantastical premise of the novel more grounded in reality and believable. Plus, Daniel’s chapters were in a different, less modern font, giving his story a different feel and look from Lucy’s modern story telling.

The only part of the novel that I didn’t like was the ending. There is no real resolution for the couple at the novel’s conclusion. I feel incredibly emotionally invested in their story, so there better be another book! I would definitely recommend this to fans of books like The Time Traveler’s Wife, where love spans time and space.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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