My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares begins with Lucy who is captivated by Daniel, a new boy at school. She wants to connect with him but he doesn’t seem interested and hasn’t spoken to her in two years. That all changes on the night of their last high school dance when the two meet leaving Lucy with more questions than answers.
Why You Should Read My Name is Memory
You love Ann Brashares as an Author
This was the first time I picked up a book by Ann Brashares. Many of you know I work as a library page and hundreds of books pass through my hands. This book caught my eye because of the interesting book cover. A quick look at the back cover made me shrug and think, “I’ll give it a shot”.
While what you might read next is meant to steer the unsuspecting away from this book, it shouldn’t deter those of you who are true fans of Brashare’s work as an author.
What’s not to like about My Name is Memory?
1. Wrong Genre
I’m not a genre snob- I swear! But, when a book is classified in a specific genre there are expectations readers anticipate. After reading the first few pages, I felt like the book was not what I expected. The main character Lucy, a high school student acted like… a high school student! Lucy’s thoughts and actions were spot on which is why I was so surprised this book was listed as “Women’s Fantasy Fiction” and housed within the Adult Fiction section of the library. This book is Young Adult all the way. I cannot understand why the Author and Publisher would stray away from Ann’s Young Adult category with this book.
The premise of My Name is Memory has potential. A boy who lives continually being reincarnated actually falls in love with the same woman over and over for thousands of years. The problem? He retains the memory of her through all his lives but she doesn’t. He gets closer to the woman he has loved before (her name was Sophia) through each life but, never connects with her until the present time as Lucy.
The plot problem is how to introduce the pair without it being creepy and I don’t feel Ann succeeded. Their meeting is creepy. He knows her. For thousands of years he’s been in love with her as different women but nonetheless, her soul. In two years Daniels’s made no contact with Lucy except brief exchanges. Lucy doesn’t know anything about Daniel except she is drawn to him. The passion Daniel has for Lucy is not really explained- just felt in an awkward way.
At least in the first twenty or so pages Brashare’s doesn’t dive in to Daniels psyche. Daniel confronts Lucy before the dance in a dark room and demands she understand just by looking into his eyes and feeling his “passion”. Daniel’s emotions come on too hard, too fast and wind up feeling like lust than love. Can we the reader blame Lucy for running away? I would run away myself. Far, far away.
3. Denigrating to Women
In fact, the scene of their meeting has such blunt, rough sexual connotations that I had a hard time even reading it. There is no sense that Daniel loves Lucy; just that he’s bent on shocking her into knowing who he is. Any reader could sense this is wrong behavior, it is forceful- enough to rip her dress. If this scene was witnessed by anyone, the 17-18 year old Lucy would seem in distress. A call would be made to 911. You get the picture.
So, I revert back to my earlier point. This was the wrong genre and not what most who read Women’s Fantasy Fiction would expect. But this leads me to ponder something. Is this the kind of behavior acceptable in Young Adult Fiction? I hope not.
4. Beware of “No Ending”
Knowing I was going to rate this book poorly, I searched Amazon for reviews. Of course there are all level of Star ratings but many readers were downright angry. Many claimed there was no ending for the book. Some said it was the first of a trilogy and two more books were coming. But the reader should not be left empty handed. They need a catharsis. Especially after reading a lackluster book like this one all the way to the end.
Why did I give My Name is Memory 1 Star?
I gave My Name is Memory 1 Star because the author failed to make a strong bond between this reader and the main character Daniel. Lucy’s story is compelling but the author keeps Daniel lurking in the background for too many of the beginning pages. Thus Daniel never got into my head. I never bonded with nor understood his point of view. That was the authors job and sadly after 20 pages I stopped reading.
One more thing…
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