Did-not-finish book thoughts: ‘Falling Together’ and ‘My Name Is Memory’

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos
Where I stopped: Page 110

Having read and loved Marisa de los Santos’ first two novels, I eagerly anticipated grabbing Falling Together. While the plot was slow-moving and cumbersome at times — even confusing — it’s impossible not to appreciate the lyrical quality of her writing. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to redeem this one for me.

Though the novel is ostensibly about three best friends who have drifted apart since their tender college days, Falling Together focuses mainly on Pen, a wounded single mother working to maintain an amicable relationship with her ex for the sake of their child. Having recently lost her father, Pen is a walking open wound. She bravely pretends to have forgotten about Will and Cat, her beloved college friends, but her split from them was worse than any pain she felt in love. Pen grieves as much for her father as she does for the loss of Cat and Will.

Here’s my main issue with Falling Together: the tension between the three friends feels so melodramatic and forced. We spend pages upon pages waiting for an explosive reason for the dissolution of their almost obsessive bond with one another, but it never comes. Or, rather, it’s just a let-down. Pen and her issues grated heavily on my nerves as she reconnects with Will, someone she’s so obviously in love with, and I found myself growing really frustrated with her. Plus, it was hard to understand the dynamic between them. An outsider jokes once about them being in a three-person romantic relationship, and there was some sort of unsettling vibe there I couldn’t shake. Not even by the end.

The action picks up in the latter half of the novel as several characters go on a hunt for a missing member, but it wasn’t enough to save Falling Together for me. Marisa de los Santos crafts lovely prose, but her characters here were enough to set my teeth on edge. If you’re new to her books, I recommend Belong To Me. It moved me to tears.

Other thoughts:
S. Krishna’s Books
The Book Chick
Jenny’s Books

My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares
Where I stopped: Audio disc three

Chalk this up to bad timing or awful narrators. Whichever you choose, I couldn’t pop My Name Is Memory out of my car’s stereo fast enough. To begin, I felt the audio narrators weren’t appropriate choices, age-wise; I know Daniel is supposed to have been alive for thousands of years, etc. and so forth, but the point at which both he and Lucy are interacting as teenagers makes him sound like a creeper.

Okay, that’s harsh. But true. When we got through the awkward moment where Daniel appears in a darkened room after a stabbing at a school dance (?) and he’s all, Look at me, I’m lurking here. And btw, I love you. Even though we never talk and you have no idea who I am, I thought things would improve. Alas — they just got incredibly boring after that. By the time Daniel was recounting crazy stuff that happened back in the time of Christ or something, I was mentally checked out. Not interested in a long-winded history lesson, thanks.

Would I have enjoyed this one more had I read it in print? Doubtful. I probably wouldn’t have even made it as far as I did with a borrowed audio version.

Other thoughts:
Belle’s Bookshelf
At Home With Books
The Girl From The Ghetto

19 thoughts on “Did-not-finish book thoughts: ‘Falling Together’ and ‘My Name Is Memory’

  1. I know that whole business of Falling Together was a little sad, considering how Love Walked In and Belong To Me just completely swept me off my feet. It did take some time to get into it, and I guess at the end, I was glad I persevered because I did end up liking this book. I just didn’t love it. With her first two books, she has big shoes to fill.


  2. Sorry to hear that you didn’t like “My Name is Memory.” I think it definitely is an acquired taste. I read the book and it took me awhile to get into it (though ultimately, by the end, I did like it.) It’s interesting that Daniel’s voice comes across as creepy on the audio; like you, I wonder if you would have had a different reaction to the print version. I thought he seemed more tortured than anything else.


  3. LOL! Love the creeper comment for my Name is Memory!!!

    I wasn’t sure what to think of it when I read it – so different from what I normally read. I enjoyed it, but it took some adjusting. Once things got sorted out, and that’s quite a bit into the book, it gets better. I wasn’t crazy about the end though, blah…It’s definitely not one of those novels that I HAVE to have and reread over and over again. Actually, I often forget I’ve read it until I hear it come up, haha


  4. I haven’t read any of Marisa de los Santos books yet but I have Belong To Me and Falling Together. I plan to read Belong to Me first and get a copy of Love Walked In.

    I had a similar reaction to My Name is Memory but the print copy. I just didn’t find it interesting. I also felt Daniel was kind of creepy and Lucy was kind of wimpy. I didn’t finish this one either.


  5. I liked My Name is Memory until I got to the end. There wasn’t one! And I can’t find any info on the next book including the author’s own website. If I had know it was part one of a trilogy I would have waited until the next book was in the works.


  6. Very interesting Meg! I have the first on my wishlist and the second on my shelves; I wonder if I’ll like Memory more than you did? I’ll have to think about whether I want to get Falling Together or not though, this isn’t the first negative reviews I’ve read of it sadly.


  7. I also wasn’t able to get all the way through Falling Together. Sad… I love Marisa de los Santos’ other books. Oh well. Glad to know I am not the only one.


  8. I was so disappointed to see you didn’t care for Falling Together on GoodReads, because I usually share your opinion of books and I know that means I’ll probably have the same reservations, lol!

    It sounded SO good though – I may read it still anyway just to see, but I’ll definitely start with Belong to Me first. Thanks for the heads up!


  9. I still have Marisa de los Santos’ first two books on my to-read list. I think I’d better stick to these first two – it sounds like a lot of people were disappointed in Falling Together.


  10. I really trying to be better about DNF. I just put one aside that I had tried to read while on maternity and made it halfway (150?) but ugh…why do I want to waste my precious reading time?

    Narrators are make or break for audio. Sorry these didn’t work for you!


  11. I have Falling Together on my shelves and I haven’t read one good review of it, so sad. I am glad it was an ARC I picked up at work. I’m not even sure I’ll read it. It’s hard for me to abandon a book, but there are too many good books to read.


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