Aug 28, 11
Read in August, 2011
Despite the fact it took me nearly two weeks to read this rather short book, I can say that it really is a lovely read full of hope, dreams, eternal love and hopefully a sequel.
My Name is Memory is a take on the human soul having the ability to live many lives over the centuries. This is an idea that I had read before a long time ago, not in a book of fiction but in some metaphysical mumbo jumbo back in the 1990's I believe. Sometimes reading about the possibility of having 2nd, 3rd or more chances to make something right is appealing to ponder. What if?
What if the soul was born many centuries ago and in that life it found a true love that was unrequited or the fates had suddenly ended a life? Perhaps that soul could be reborn in another body and live again. I think we've all had dreams or the feeling of deja vu and couldn't remotely explain how something we have never seen before seems familiar. What if those glimpses are left over imprints, or like a tattoo on the old soul, that is carried with it and manages to make it's way into our present? Perhaps you are born with a birthmark on your shoulder and think nothing of it. What if in a past life you were shot in your shoulder? Could it be that the birthmark is a way for the body to recognize it's past as well?
In a nutshell these are the ideas that this story is built around. However in this story the main character Daniel has the gift of memory. He remembers his past lives, he recognizes the reborn souls of people in his past lives in his present life. During the span that starts roughly 400 to 500 years after the death of Christ up to present day, Daniel seeks a certain soul. She is now known as Lucy, but in the past she was Sophia and Constance. She was a child who died in his arms, an old woman he sat next to in church, a beautiful woman of priviledge that he could not get close to as he was just a young boy.
This story goes back and forth in time to weave a tale and build the characters so that we not only know them now but then as well, and perhaps why they do the things they do and feel the way they feel. One of my favorite passages in this book reads like this....
"God, Sophia. You aren't anyone. Haven't you heard anything I've said to you? You might think I'm another pathetic boy in your care, and I am. But you are everything to me."
I was sitting up and flushed, and so determined I could barely feel my lungs or any other part of me. Sophia had dropped my hand, and she looked as though she was going to cry.
"Please try to believe me." I said. "This didn't happen by accident. You have been with me from the very first life. You are my first memory every time, the single thread in all of my lives. It's you who makes me a person."
Taken from pages 166-167.
When I read that it gave me something that kinda felt like hope. I know this is just a fictional book and that there is no proof that souls actually move from life to life, transcending time, but what if? What if the person we meet tomorrow at the store, who becomes our best friend because it feels so natural was our sister in a past life or our grandfather (souls apparently don't have to follow gender specific guidelines, as suggested in this story).
This is a book I would definitely recommend. It's thought-provoking, well crafted and leaves room for the reader to make his/her own assumptions and fill-in's along the way, it gives the reader an opportunity to imagine where parts of the stories untold may have led.