Friday, March 19, 2021

Fiction Review: My Name is Memory

One of my books groups chose My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares for our March selection. If that author name sounds familiar, it’s because she wrote all of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants YA novels. I think I saw the movie adaptation but didn't read the books, so this was the first novel by Brashares (her second adult novel) that I read. I enjoyed this unique love story crossing time.


The premise of this book is a bit hard to describe. The main character, Daniel, has lived many lives over the course of almost 1500 years, beginning in 541 AD. He says that many people live multiple lives, but he is one of very few who remembers his past lives. He recalls many of the details of his lives, so he knows many languages, can play many instruments, and his knowledge of the world is extensive. As the novel opens in 2006, Daniel is a teenager at a Virginia high school, but he is quite literally an “old soul.” He’s here in this place because he’s tracked down his one true love. She’s currently a seventeen-year-old girl at the school named Lucy, though he still thinks of her as Sophia. Daniel and Sophia’s lives have crossed many times, and they have fallen in love before, but while Daniel remembers it all, Lucy does not. Daniel's challenge is to somehow convince Lucy of their long connection and undying love, when she just thinks he's the new guy at school. The novel moves back and forth between the present day, as Daniel and Lucy graduate and still can't quite connect, and some of Daniel’s past lives, gradually filling in the details of who he is and how he first met Sophia. There is an evil presence that has followed him through many lives and is intent on revenge, so Daniel also fears for Lucy's safety, even as he yearns to be together with her.

I wasn’t sure about this novel just from the description, but I’ve always been fascinated by reincarnation, and I was soon engrossed in its unique story. It is, at its heart, a love story across the ages, but it also includes plenty of history and the last part of the novel is quite suspenseful, as the evil force catches up with Lucy and Daniel. While it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, most of my book group members really enjoyed this book, with lots of ratings between 8 and 10 (out of 10). We also had plenty to talk about in our discussion, unraveling the secrets of Daniel's many lives, discussing the implications of his uniquely long existence, and putting forth theories as to the inner workings of the evil at work here. The only downside, we all agreed, is that the novel ends with the story unresolved. It feels like the end of a book with a sequel ... but it was published in 2010, with still no sequel available. Luckily, some online searching revealed a Tweet from the author in July 2020, with a picture of the Part 2 draft cover page, saying: "Well, the manuscript is in and the publishing process starts. I’ll let you know how it goes. I am so grateful to you readers who pushed me to finish it." So, hopefully, we won't have to wait too long now to find out what happens to Daniel and Lucy!

324 pages, Riverhead Books

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Listen to a sample of the audiobook here, as Daniel describes his lengthy existence and unique memory, and/or download it from Audible.


You can buy the book through, where your purchase will support the indie bookstore of your choice (or all indie bookstores)--the convenience of shopping online while still buying local:


Or you can order My Name Is Memory from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. This sounds like a really interesting premise. I like the idea of people living multiple lives and connecting over and over again. However, I'd want them together at the end and not to be left hanging.

    1. Hopefully, they will end up together in book 2!