That feeling when you finish a book and you find out that it’s the first in a trilogy. That’s how I felt last night after I read My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series).
I stayed up to read it even though I had work the next day, wanting to know the ending right away. When I read the last word, I thought it was a weird way to end the book so I googled it. As aforementioned, Brashares is apparently planning on writing the story as a trilogy, but no word on when the second book is coming out yet.
Here’s the description on the back of the book:
Lucy Broward is an ordinary girl growing up in the Virginia suburbs, soon to head off to college. As she prepares for her last high school dance, she allows herself to hope that this might be the night her elusive crush, Daniel Grey, finally notices her. But Daniel is no ordinary young man. Daniel has “the memory,” the ability to recall past lives and recognize the souls of those he’s previously known. And he has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Lucy (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together only to be torn painfully, fatally, apart—and he remembers it all. … But just when Lucy begins to awaken to the secret of her past, the mysterious force that has previously torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must confront not just their complicated history, but a persistent adversary as well, if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.
Read more after the jump. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
Even though I wrongly believed this was a standalone novel, I already knew it was optioned for a film. The concept is certainly intriguing and the way Brashares further explains the reincarnation idea in the book is fascinating and easily one of its best attributes. The “mysterious force” that threatens the couple was valid and not trite, in my opinion. There’s also hints of elegant prose a la My Sister’s Keeper‘s Jodi Picoult.
In his last life, when he was seven, he’d met a man in his uncle’s office who was tormented by his need to have his healthy leg amputated above the knee. Everyone thought the man was deranged, naturally, including the man himself, and no doctor would perform the surgery. But Daniel remembered him from before, and he understood. Not everything, but just a little bit. He remembered that he’d been a soldier and that he’d lost his leg at the Somme when he was seventeen. Daniel told him everything he remembered. But that wasn’t punishment or retribution. That was mercy.
However, I didn’t expect the author to alternate between Lucy and Daniel’s past lives and their present one. I guess it makes sense to do so, but I found myself wanting to get to the chapters in the modern-day setting but was disappointed that the writer kept the lovers apart for most of the book. I think she also fumbled in the action sequence in the last few pages. (Hopefully, that will be corrected in the movie.) I also wish Brashares possessed J.K. Rowling’s (Harry Potter series) talent for storytelling and its follow through because it is such a great concept but the execution wasn’t up to my expectations.
With the film, I found myself wondering if they’ll use the same actors for present-day Lucy and Daniel and their past versions or if they’ll be using different actors for each past life. It would be more interesting if it were the latter of course. What do you think?
And before I go, let’s play casting director. Who do you think should bring the main characters to life on the big screen? Assuming the adaptation is super faithful, both Lucy and Daniel have to be believable as people in high school and college with an otherworldly quality to them.
Some of the same people named as favorites for another upcoming movie, The Hunger Games, come to mind like Hunter Parrish (Weeds) and Gaspard Ulliel (A Very Long Engagement). Other possibilities include Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls), and Emma Stone (Easy A). Milo Ventimiglia (Gilmore Girls), Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Rachel McAdams (The Time Traveler’s Wife) would be great, too, if they could pass for teenagers or if the studio moves the timeline. Ben Foster (Alpha Dog) could easily play the bad guy and that’s a compliment.
It’s not everyday that the film could be better than the book.