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My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

December 6, 2011

Who would have thought that from a seemingly cliche beginning, an intricate and provoking story about life, death, second chances, remembering yourself, what it means to be human, and a deep, unwavering love that spans centuries could be born?

I didn’t. And I was absolutely proven wrong.

The premise of the story is that of reincarnation; the souls of people are reincarnated until they either find peace or simply give up in despair. Most people don’t remember their past lives, but their past lives can explain some of their present habits and nightmares and such. Daniel Grey has a special gift called the Memory, in which he can remember all of his past lives and can recognize different souls that he’s known. And he’s trying to be together with the one girl he’s been deeply in love with over centuries, but fate hasn’t really given him a chance. Until now.

Starting in 500 AD in North Africa, My Name is Memory chronicles the tale of Daniel and his various lives and how he tries to find and be with his love, interspersed with the present-day story of Lucy, the girl who can’t exactly remember Daniel but feels a strong connection she can’t ignore. 

The beginning of the book was honestly cliched and stupid to me at first. It starts off with Lucy as a senior in high school, longing for loner boy Daniel and always pining from a distance. But as I further immersed myself into the story, I became entwined in the rich history of the two and came to the point where I understood the beginning perfectly and thought it cliched no longer. 

Filled with heart-racing scenes, historically rich details, intense characterization, incredibly deep observations about humanity, and an epic love story, I found My Name is Memory to be beautiful and unique and extremely hard to put down, but at the same time hard to move forward with, because I knew it has to end. Beware of nondescript sexual scenes and a few swear words here and there, but overall this tale of deep love and humanity is one well-worth the read. 

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