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Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Name is Memory

I recently just raed the book My Name is Memory, a romance story based around the religious belief of reincarnation. The underlining premise is that we are all reincarnated, but we forget each former life. The protagonist is cursed or blessed with the ability to remember each life. He remembers the woman that he loves and in each life finds her, and whether or not he gets her is left to fate. I don't believe in reincarnation but the story sounded incredibly interesting, I'm not the type of person to eschew a book just because it espouses a belief that i don't have.
My daughter has night terrors. Something that I don't completely understand. She awakes at night screaming, and when i go in there her eyes are squeezed shut, her arms are flailing, and she has usually squirmed herself into a corner of the crib. It's terrifying for a mother or father to see their child in such ununderstandable psychological pain. We have no idea why she gets them, i have been with her almost every moment of her life, nothing has harmed her, for the first year of her life she has had no trauma. Why would she have nightmares?
After reading this book it was the first time that I could understand why someone would believe in reincarnation. The theory that our soul lasts throughout many lifetimes and keeps coming back seems less implausible to me after reading this tale. Take Emma's night terrors, if you believe in reincarnation she is just experiencing a psychic watermark from her last lifetime. In the Christian tradition the only explanation for night terrors seems to be demonic interference. Now, which makes me more comfortable? I definitely prefer the reincarnation explanation.
As for the book the author, Ann Brashares, the path her tale takes is a convoluted. She include a more dramatic path about a 'brother' that really distracts from what could be an amazing exploration of reincarnation and the nature of romance. She works through reincarnation and how it would affect memory in a beautiful way that makes me rethink all the jokes that I have made about coming back as a dung beetle. I am not sure how much research she did and how much was just her conjecture, but I like the romance and I really liked the premise.
All in all it was a good read, but I wished Brashares had been thoughtful and just explored reincarnation and character development, instead she got caught up in a sensationalistic rabbit trail.
But hey, maybe I'm just an old soul...

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