My Name Is Memory - Ann Brashares
I'm torn on how I feel about this book. I was so excited to read it and I wanted to love it so much. However, the beginning dragged so much for me. I could not get into it and it almost became a chore to read. While the jumping from the past to the present didn't help, the biggest problem is that I couldn't connect with the characters. Brashares fit in a lot of information about their pasts, especially Daniel's, but I didn't really get an understanding of either character and I couldn't muster up many feelings for them either. Lucy was rather annoying. I didn't understand a lot of the choices she made or reactions she had. I wanted to throttle her at some points. She was also way too passive. She just let life happen to her and then whined about it. Even after it looked like she was coming out of it and she was being a little more active in moving her story forward she slipped right back into being passive again. And I truly do not understand what in the hell she could have been thinking at the end of the book. When everything in her was telling her she needed to not walk, but run away she ignored every instinct she had. Even knowing what she did, she should have never put herself in that sort of situation. [Minor spoiler]Who in her right damn mind would feel the way she did about the guy she's with, where she was repulsed by him, didn't want him to touch her, kiss her and certainly didn't want to have sex with him, but she chooses to go away with him to Mexico for six days alone? Jesus H. Christ on an attempted rape charge, what is wrong with this girl?! Then, at the end, [Super big spoiler! Don't click!]she predictably ends up in a certain way and she's afraid to tell Daniel because she thinks he doesn't want to have kids and would be angry about it. Except the only thing he said to her about it when she idly mentioned kids as a possibility for their future is that he didn't think it was in the cards for him. How in the hell did she get 'doesn't want kids' and 'angry' out of that?! This girl gives me a headache!Daniel. Oh, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. I want to love you, but I don't get you. First and foremost I never fully understood why he was so in love with her. I can maybe understand the infatuation from the first encounter they had in his first life, but love? Even after the Sophia life, Brashares didn't give us enough for us to really understand that they had fallen in love. It's another situation where we're told and expected to believe it. Even after their trek through the desert I didn't understand why he was so in love with her that he spent century after century going after this girl. That also made it difficult to connect to the story, because that is the basis of the entire thing. I think if Brashares spent more time on the love story, instead of so many excruciating details of Daniel's past, it would have been better for me. He's lived for nearly 1500 years, that is a lot of backstory to cram into one book. She needed to pick and choose better or resign herself to writing a much longer book. I needed the love story to have started out strong to carry me through the entire book, so I could understand why he spent so many lifetimes, and gave up so much just to be with her. I felt more for him and Snappy the pigeon in his St. Louis life than I did for him and Sophia most of the time.I will say that in one of their lives, even though they were together a short time, she did a much better job of giving us a love story between the two. I was really starting to believe in them and their epic love. Unfortunately, then Daniel runs off in subsequent life and does something that really made me dislike him. I have no words for my disgust at his actions in this one life. I almost hope the consequences reverberate throughout the rest of his lives. But this was supposed to illustrate the depth and fervor of his love and desire to be with Sophia/Lucy. Okay, fine. All that does, however, is make it even harder for me to understand why, after everything he has gone through and everything he has given up, he wasted so much time in his present life. So much waiting and hoping for the perfect set of life circumstances and he wastes what he's given using fear as an excuse.Overall the book reads like an author trying to transition from writing YA to adult fiction. YA doesn't require a defined plot, developed characters, or actual definable love, but Brashares tried to give us all of the above it just fell a little short of the intended goal for me in some areas. There were definitely points in the book when the writing was very much YA, just with more cursing. Also, too much time in the book passes with nothing going on. Here's where I get confused. It picks up in the last 20-25% of the book and damn does it get good. Even with Lucy pulling that seriously stupid move, and the rather predictable element, I love what went on. I even started loving Daniel and Lucy. Maybe I'm just a sucker for certain things. The ending does leave you dangling off a cliff. While many people don't think so, I think Brashares could have left it there as a stand alone book (it would have been evil, but it could have been done). It is a strong ending, even though it is very much like having the literary equivalent of blue balls. Thankfully, she isn't that mean as I had heard this is supposed to be a trilogy. Of course, then I went researching this rumor to get a confirmation and I couldn't find anything that indicated this was true, even on her official website. (I probably would have been okay if no one had mentioned a trilogy, but since I had it in my head I absolutely needed the resolution the end indicated was coming and the answer to some pretty salient questions.) Finally, thank you Internet, I found a (hopefully) legitimate interview where she does say she envisioned this story unfolding in three parts! Unfortunately, it looks like there's going to be a long wait.It was somewhat hard to rate this book. In some places it was two stars, in others it was three, and the end was four. For a good portion of the book I was disappointed, but thanks to the end I'm invested and will definitely be waiting for the next installment.