Monday, October 11, 2010

Review by Shellie: My Name is Memory ~ by Ann Brashares

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An unusual and heart-wrenching story about love and the consequences of one’s actions.

My Blurb:   In a world where human souls reincarnate into other bodies after death, our main character Daniel has what may be a curse or a gift; he remembers each and every one of his past lives. By this method Ann Brashares takes us on a romantic and historical journey from ancient times until the present.

What is significant for this story is that in his first life, Daniel, in all his “youthful stupidity”,  was responsible for the death of a little girl. As each of Daniel’s lives cross with those of Sophie’s, he is inextricably linked with her through his intense desire to make amends.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this novel for a variety of reasons. It is written well; it made me feel deeply; I liked the format which includes type setting differentiation between time settings; I personally relate to reincarnation theory as a belief system; and lastly the author answered all my niggling questions when presenting this paranormal world.

Although I have not read any other books by this author, I have noted that she has an usual style of writing. It flows well yet every once in a while she will come up with a phrase or a sentence which is constructed in an unusual manner. It is reminiscent of Cormack McCarthy’s style from his blockbuster - The Road. Both writers are extremely readable with little bits that appear which are slightly curious and yet extremely powerful.

Even though I was not crazy about the last dramatic scene, which I felt was a bit “cheesy” or contrived, and I am not a huge romance fan, this story sucked me in and made my heart ache. I related to the characters, liked them, and was terrified about the protagonist and the concepts within reincarnation that he represented.

The format of the type setting was helpful in staying clear through the time changes as the text moves back and forth, where the past and the present both have different types of lettering. This made it easy to follow the main character’s view point without getting confused. (I hope that the editors have used this format in the finished copy since mine was a pre-publish edition).

Reincarnation is an interesting concept for me as I enjoy understanding different cultural and social belief systems and because it is in current practice today, lending a realistic link to this fantasy. Most significantly, I also relate to a world view that holds a person responsible for each and every action.

When looking at the book in parallel with others that I have read recently on transmigration, my thought is that the guidelines presented in the book are based upon the actual precepts dating back to prehistory. I am not going to spoil them here, but as mentioned above some are extremely frightening.

When reading the book I had many questions about the reincarnation theory the author presented; I was thinking “how is she going to explain that?“ It is highly commendable that Brashares answered them all. An example of several of my questions are - where do the souls of animals go after death? What about changing sexes - how does that work? And what happens between lives?  Very interesting indeed.

I’d recommend this novel if you like romantic paranormal stories and are interested in reincarnation, if you enjoy stories about true love, if you enjoy ancient historical information included within a novel, or if you like experiencing some very intense and deep emotions when reading. Now the best for last - If you like mind-bending endings then you will really enjoy this book. I do have to say that the ending is a real shocker. I liked it, although some readers may not agree.

I give this book 4 stars; I am looking forward to the next two in the series.

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If you would like more information on the book, such as publisher’s blurb, purchasing links, as well as author information – take a look at Layers of Thought’s preview for My Name is Memory.

Amazon purchasing links for US/UK/Canada.

Linda at Silly Little Mischief mentioned that this is the first in a trilogy. She also has a short review on her site and some amazing recipes and pictures of meals that she has cooked on her surrounding posts. Just a warning - don’t look at them if you’re dieting. 

If you have written a review and I have missed it please link it in the comments below. I will include it in this post.

Leslie from Under My Apple Tree gave it 4.5 stars

This book will be included in a variety of challenges – The RIPV, The Speculative Fiction Challenge, The New Author Challenge, World Religion, and The Basics.

Have a good one!

12 comments:

Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree said...

I read this one a few months ago and liked it a lot... although I was not crazy about the ending. I find the whole reincarnation theory interesting. When I realized this was book one of a trilogy I was a little more accepting of the ending and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Leslie -
I am one of those people who don't read reviews for books that I want to read. It has a tendency to ruin them for me.

Do you have a link for a review I can include here?

I heard from a friend that there were quite a few complaints about the ending.

I really liked it since it sort of stretches the thought processes. I am looking forward to what she does with this particular ending. It should be interesting.

Linda said...

You are too funny. Thanks for linking to my blog!

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Linda -
But of course!
Its so true though... I had to skip over those posts since I am not masochistic...lol... well perhaps only a little.

Shainer said...

Not something I would normally read, but my interest has been perked. I think this one is going to the TBR list.

Thanks.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Shainer -
The main character is a guy so you just may like it... it is mind bending.

Will be interested to see what you do think.

We have a sci fi review coming tomorrow. Very guy"ish".

Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree said...

Shellie ... thanks for stopping by. My review for My Name Is Memory is here, I read it way back in June.

Glad you found the Women of SF link. I just found it recently myself. That's going to be a fun discussion.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Leslie -
Excellent!
I have a website with a number of the books for free download in pdf format if you interested - for this women in Sci Fi book discussion.

Emily Cross said...

Another to add to the TBR pile :) thanks for excellent review

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Emily -
I think you just may like this one.

I saw it on all the book stores shelves in the UK when we visited last month.

Thanks :)

Kailana said...

I had high hopes for this book, but it fell a bit flat... I still am glad I read it, though.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Kailana -
I'm sad to hear that. I will be by to check our your thoughts in a few days since I have found only a few bad reviews on it but one person did not even finish the book..

Thanks for stopping by :)

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