I read A LOT – usually several books a week. I also read really fast. My husband jokes that sometimes on weekends when we sit down on the couch to relax he watches a few innings of a ball game and I read a book. He says all the time “you have a few minutes, why don’t you read a book?” He is only exaggerating slightly.
I LOVE to read and I love to talk about books. I love my book club and discussing the stories we read, debating the plot and defending the characters. If reading was a profession, I like to think I’d be among the best. I haven’t quite figured out why I don’t write more on this blog about the books I read but maybe someday….
Anyways, I’ll try to find my way to my point! I recently read “My Name is Memory” by Ann Brashares. I am a big fan of the author – I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and I enjoyed “The Last Summer of You & Me”. I will admit that when I picked up this book I was a bit skeptical…the jacket of the book was intriguing but also a big vague. I was afraid that it would turn out to be a wanna-be Twilight story. I will also admit that I was wrong about that.
The story has a very interesting premise. To me, the overall theme was that our souls never die – they inhabit new bodies and new environments, face new challenges and interact with new people and situations, but they retain the important parts life to life – the things they have learned, the lessons and characteristics they value, the love they feel for others. In the book it presents the idea that only a remarkable few people can “remember” their past lives and therefore they remain connected to the souls that they loved – even if those souls are in new people and if those new people don’t remember the past or the connection. Sound complicated? I struggled a bit with the book at first – the narrator tells his own story but several other characters become the focus of chapters and the time periods jump tremendously – from 541 to 2009 – and settings from all over the world are featured. Once I got used to the back and forth and connected with the voices of the characters I found myself really enjoying the story and caring about what happened to the characters.
If this were a real review, I’d recommend it the book. I will also confess that I hope for a sequel….
What really struck me though was the way the characters connect to each other throughout the book in truly incredible ways – the soul of an old male friend inhabits the body of a young girl but can still be recognized, a young man can still feel love for the soul now inhabiting an elderly woman in need of comfort, a young woman reaches out to a child. I don’t know if I believe in reincarnation but, in fairness, I don’t know that I don’t believe in it either. This book definitely challenged my thoughts on the subject.
This is why I liked the book – it made me think. Have you ever felt instantly connected to someone – either as friends or romantic partners? Have you ever wondered how it seems as though you have known someone forever when you’ve only recently met? This has happened to me on more than one occasion and I wonder sometimes if there is more to the connection than liking the same restaurant or movie or choosing the same grad school program or being in the same general line of work. The same has happened in reverse – I’ve instantly known I don’t like someone or can’t trust someone with no logical reason why – just a gut feeling that something is off. Is my intuition finely tuned or could it perhaps be something more? I am not sure I can totally buy the idea of previous connections in the way the book presents them but I definitely believe that there is something bigger out there and maybe it helps us to meet people and connect to those that are our meant to be our “soul mates”…
Something else to the long list of life’s mysteries to ponder….if you read the book, please let me know what you think!