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On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.


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On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

30 review for The Memory Keeper's Daughter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Rhodes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Note: This review is chock full of spoilers! Read at your own risk. Ugh. This book was a disappointment. I was drawn in by the premise, my mother-in-law having borne twins where one was neurotypical and the other was not (cerebral palsy in our case). As I got into the story, though, its shortcomings became painfully apparent. The characters were shallow and unlikable. In particular I couldn't stand Norah, whose every hackneyed scene - from her flirtation with alcoholism to her tawdry affairs to h Note: This review is chock full of spoilers! Read at your own risk. Ugh. This book was a disappointment. I was drawn in by the premise, my mother-in-law having borne twins where one was neurotypical and the other was not (cerebral palsy in our case). As I got into the story, though, its shortcomings became painfully apparent. The characters were shallow and unlikable. In particular I couldn't stand Norah, whose every hackneyed scene - from her flirtation with alcoholism to her tawdry affairs to her rebirth as a liberated entrepreneur - recalled the one Danielle Steele book I read out of desperation during a boring summer at my parents' house. So many times, the plot seemed to be building up to a climax which inevitably fell flat - son Paul's drugged-out ransacking of his father's workroom, for example, could've led to his discovering the file on his sister, but instead was resolved with no revelations, just a lame father-son chat and an admonition to clean up the mess - what was the point? As for David and his photography, the title "Memory Keeper" would've been more poignant if, say, David had kept his photography a private thing, albums filled with desperately orchestrated scenes of 'happy' family moments that never were; instead, the author chose another Steele-worthy plot of turning him into a detached, semi-pro photo artist with some high-concept obsession with linking anatomy with nature scenes. Whatever. The question of how David pulled off his daughter's faked death is also nagging. Even if he did sign the death certificate himself, how did he swing the service and burial? Should we assume that he simply nipped down to "Caskets-R-Us" for a wee box, informed everyone that he stuck her in there, and that no one blinked an eye? The closest thing to a sympathetic, realistic character was Caroline, the nurse who raised Phoebe. And speaking of Phoebe, the author seemed to care less about transcending Down Syndrome stereotypes and fleshing her out as a fully-realized character than for using her as a bland abstraction, a screen against which the other characters project their neuroses and complicated life choices. The author is very enamored of setting a scene, right down to the dust motes in the air and the color of people's shoes. She puts too much effort into description and not enough on weaving a compelling plot. Redundancy and trite dialogue are a constant annoyance. Oh, and the whole Rosemary plot at the end? What? David just happens to stumble upon some pregnant homeless chick in his abandoned childhood home who's about Phoebe's age, and after she takes him prisoner and he confesses his precious sins to her, he basically adopts her like a neurotypical stand-in for the broken daughter he gave away? Was that supposed to be some act of redemption - taking in a girl and her baby to atone for the baby he rejected? The whole thing reeks of symbolism, but did anyone else just find this twist not only implausible but creepy? Feh. I struggled to finish this book, but I wouldn't recommend anyone doing the same to themselves.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    This book was terrible, not because it was bad, but because it was so good: I couldn't put it down until I finished the final pages at 3 in the morning. Not a good thing, when your alarm goes off at 5:50 AM. What fascinates me about this book is what it has to say about "secrets." The basic premise: a doctor is forced to deliver his wife's child in the middle of a raging snowstorm. The only complication is that she's actually carrying twins - the first, a healthy beautiful baby boy; the second, a This book was terrible, not because it was bad, but because it was so good: I couldn't put it down until I finished the final pages at 3 in the morning. Not a good thing, when your alarm goes off at 5:50 AM. What fascinates me about this book is what it has to say about "secrets." The basic premise: a doctor is forced to deliver his wife's child in the middle of a raging snowstorm. The only complication is that she's actually carrying twins - the first, a healthy beautiful baby boy; the second, a Downs Syndrome baby girl. The year is 1964, when such children are regularly institutionalized - after all, babies like this rarely survive long anyway, and even if they do, their quality of life is marginal at best. As a doctor, David Henry knows his daughters prognosis full well, and rather than force his young wife Norah to deal with such a tragedy, he makes a snap decision to try and protect her from a lifetime of unspeakable grief. His solution: hand the "defective" daughter to his nurse to deliver to an institution, while he informs his wife of the tragedy - she delivered twins, but her daughter did not survive childbirth. She is dead. Gone. With that simple little secret, the future is inescapably changed, his doom is sealed - unbeknownst to anyone, the nurse flees into hiding to raise the child as her own. The rest of the book is riveting, because we get to see firsthand the effects of his fall - on his relationship with his wife, his son, and eventually everyone else around him. It's a tragic book (I'm not sure I could read it again), because it's not Hollywood - it's brutally true to the lives that many of us have experienced ourselves. The one ray of hope comes unexpectedly, as David Henry confesses everything - no more secrets - to a young woman with child. In the silence David started talking again, trying to explain at first about the snow and the shock and the scalpel flashing in the harsh light. How he has stood outside himself and watched himself moving in the world. How he had woken up every morning of his life for eithteen years thinking maybe today, maybe this was the day he would put things right. But Phoebe was gone and he couldn't find her, so how could he possibly tell Norah? The secret had worked its way through their marriage, an insidious vine, twisting; she drank too much, and then she began having affairs, that sleazy realtor at the beach, and then the others; he's tried not to notice, to forgive her, for he knew that in some real sense the fault was his. Photo after photo, as if he could stop time or make an image powerful enough to obscure the moment when he had turned and handed his daughter to Caroline Gill. ... He had handed his daughter to Caroline Gill and that act had led him here, years later, to this girl in motion of her own, this girl who had decided yes, a brief moment of release in the back of a car or in the room of a silent house, this girl who had stood up later, adjusting her clothes, with no knowledge of how that moment was already shaping her life. She cut [paper] and listened. Her silence made him free. He talked like a river, like a storm, words rushing through the old house with a force and life he could not stop. At some point he began to weep again, and he could not stop that either. Rosemary made no comment whatsoever. He talked until the words slowed, ebbed, finally ceased. Silence welled. She did not speak. ... "All right," she said [at last]. "You're free." And this single act of honesty produces the deepest intimacy he has ever experienced - it's not sexual, but relational - with a human being who knows the very worst about him and yet who does not reject him for it. You can read the whole review here [http://seelifedifferently.blogspot.co...]...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Will someone please explain to me why, at my age, and I should know better, I'm stilled swayed by the words "No. 1 N.Y. Times Bestseller!"? I found this for fifty cents at my library's used book sale last week. A warning I clearly ignored. But it had a good title, a beautiful, mysterious cover, and lots of people are reading it. Lots of people watch "Oprah" and "The View", too. About halfway through the first paragraph I realized, too late to get my fifty cents back, that this is CHICK LIT. Not Will someone please explain to me why, at my age, and I should know better, I'm stilled swayed by the words "No. 1 N.Y. Times Bestseller!"? I found this for fifty cents at my library's used book sale last week. A warning I clearly ignored. But it had a good title, a beautiful, mysterious cover, and lots of people are reading it. Lots of people watch "Oprah" and "The View", too. About halfway through the first paragraph I realized, too late to get my fifty cents back, that this is CHICK LIT. Not even goofy, over-the-top fun chick lit, but "takes itself waaay too serious" chick lit pretending to be literature. The subtitle of this preposterous premised-book, choked with a mountain of useless detail, should have been "My Hidden Breastfeeding Agenda, Brought to You By the La Leche League". She goes on, on, on, and on about "the milk rising", and other numerous references to the Joy of Breastfeeding. At least in the first chapters. Then she drops it like a hot potato, busily filling the pages with endless detail about patterns on people's clothing and how the ground looks. Instead of working on character development. Anyway, the plot is just too much: Husband Pretends Handicapped Baby is Born Dead Keeps Big Secret From Wife and Marriage is NEVER THE SAME. Well, duh. The main characters, except Caroline, are wholly unlikeable. The writing is beyond tolerable; my eyes rolled so often they hurt. Edwards clearly has "The Writer's Guide to Trite" and "The Big Book of Cliches" on her reference shelf. Ugh. Why do rooms always have to be "small but immaculate"? Also, while casuarina trees and bougainvillea exist on Aruba, the "trademark tree" is the Divi-divi, and cacti are more typical than flowers. Let me guess, Edwards has never been there, right? And note to author: You don't know your ass from a hole in the ground about photography. "Photography is about secrets" she writes. Whaaaa???? I thought it was about revelation and discovery. Thanks, Kim, I'll bring my diploma from R.I.T to work tomorrow and shred it in the shredder. And my friends out there, if you ever hear me coin a phrase like "Memory Keeper" in reference to me being a photographer, please walk quietly up behind me and smash my skull in with a baseball bat. At least that will be more pleasurable than reading this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Man I hated this book- the plot had some great potential, but instead you got to witness one scene of frustrated people not knowing how to deal with their emotions after another. Seriously, imagine 60 someodd pages of: wife- "I'm sad, darling, talk to me" husband- "we can't have another baby" silence...followed by wife being angry and husband yet again being emotionally stunted...ok, fine, I see that it's a result of him giving away their daughter with downs syndrome, but I just wouldn't end! Af Man I hated this book- the plot had some great potential, but instead you got to witness one scene of frustrated people not knowing how to deal with their emotions after another. Seriously, imagine 60 someodd pages of: wife- "I'm sad, darling, talk to me" husband- "we can't have another baby" silence...followed by wife being angry and husband yet again being emotionally stunted...ok, fine, I see that it's a result of him giving away their daughter with downs syndrome, but I just wouldn't end! After about 10 of these scenes, we get the point. Then we progress to 60 pages of a new hell: son- "dad, I love music, you don't know who I am!" father "son, don't limit yourself to only this option" once again, fine as a single scene, but we have to endure it again and AGAIN. Then the book adds some completely random characters, has people reflect on life ad nauseum, and basically does nothing to make you care about any of the characters. Also, despite basing an entire story around the mistake of giving up a child because of a mental disability, it gave absolutely no credit to the young girl who has downs syndrome! She's more of a prop than a person, no part of the story is told from her perspective, and asside from the desire to marry her boyfriend, never gets the chance to show the world what she wants and feels. Great job reaffirming stereotypes! My boss loved this book, and some of my coworkers thought it was OK, but obviously I thought it was bad enough to write a barely-cohesive rant rather than a review. This book was a waste of time and paper.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    This is a wonderfully unique story. Ms. Edwards creates characters very real and situations that are effectively believable. After delivering his wife's first child, while she is unaware of what is happening, he delivers another child, this one with Down's syndrome. He makes a quick decision to spare his wife the heartbreak of raising this child and asks his nurse to place the child in an institution. The nurse takes the infant but raises it on her own. There is always something not quite right a This is a wonderfully unique story. Ms. Edwards creates characters very real and situations that are effectively believable. After delivering his wife's first child, while she is unaware of what is happening, he delivers another child, this one with Down's syndrome. He makes a quick decision to spare his wife the heartbreak of raising this child and asks his nurse to place the child in an institution. The nurse takes the infant but raises it on her own. There is always something not quite right about their relationship. He becomes obsessed with photography and draws away from his wife and even his son. Mrs. Henry decides to remake her life and starts a job in a travel agency, which she eventually buys and thrives at this business. The story moves flawlessly between Henry, Caroline and Phoebe. Much is learned about raising a Down's child and about the power of love. I think this is a wonderful book club book with many issues to talk about. How decisions are made and the price we pay for the wrong ones. There are great characters and moral issues to be discussed and insights to be learned.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a novel by American author Kim Edwards that tells the story of a man who gives away his newborn daughter, who has Down syndrome, to one of the nurses. Published by Viking Press in June 2005. In early March of 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced to deliver his wife Norah's twins with the help of a nurse, Caroline Gill. Their first child, a boy they name Paul, is born a healthy perfect child, but when the second baby is born, Pho The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a novel by American author Kim Edwards that tells the story of a man who gives away his newborn daughter, who has Down syndrome, to one of the nurses. Published by Viking Press in June 2005. In early March of 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced to deliver his wife Norah's twins with the help of a nurse, Caroline Gill. Their first child, a boy they name Paul, is born a healthy perfect child, but when the second baby is born, Phoebe, David notices she has Down syndrome. David, recalling the possibility of a heart defect and early death (which his younger sister June had had; dying at the young age of twelve) and decides that the baby girl will be placed in an institution. Caroline was given the baby to take to the institution, but simply didn't like the conditions. She decides to keep and raise the baby, who is named Phoebe. While Caroline is at the store, her car runs out of fuel and she is stranded in the snow with Phoebe. She is picked up by a truck driver, Al Simpson, who drives them to Caroline's home. Meanwhile, David tells Norah that their daughter died at birth. After hearing that Caroline had kept Phoebe rather than take her to the institution, David bids her to do what she thinks is right. Caroline leaves for Pittsburgh to make a fresh start with Phoebe. ... عنوانها: دختری در غبار خاطره‌ها؛ دختر یک راز؛ نویسنده: کیم ادواردز؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه سپتامبر سال 2010میلادی عنوان: دختری در غبار خاطره‌ها؛ نویسنده: کیم ادواردز؛ مترجم اصغر اندرودی؛ کرج در دانش بهمن‏‫، ‏‫‏1387؛ در 508ص؛ شابک 9789641740636؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده امریکا - سده 21م عنوان: دختر یک راز؛ نویسنده: کیم ادواردز؛ مترجم: فرخنده (فریبا) کاظم‌لو؛ تهران حکایتی دگر‏‫، ‏‫1388؛ در 178 ص؛ شابک 9789642756155؛ ‬‬کولاک برف، دکتر «دیوید هنری» را وامی‌دارد دوقلوهایش را خود به دنیا آورد.؛ پسرش، که نخست به دنیا می‌آید، در سلامت کامل است؛ اما دکتر بی‌درنگ درمی‌یابد، که دخترش به عقب‌ ماندگی ذهنی مبتلاست.؛ بنا به انگیزه‌ هایی که به نظر او معقول است، در یک لحظه تصمیمی می‌گیرد که سراسر عمرشان از آن تاثیر می‌پذیرد؛ او از «کرولاین»، پرستار خود، می‌خواهد که بچه را به موسسه‌ ای که ویژه ی نگهداری از این‌گونه کودکان است، بسپارد، «کرولاین»، به جای اینکار به شهر دیگری می‌رود، و دختر را همانند فرزند خویش بزرگ می‌کند.؛ داستان حاضر حکایت چند زندگی در کنار هم، اسرار خانوادگی، و قدرت رهایی‌بخش عشق است تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    At first I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why I was not enjoying a book that sounded as though it would be ‘my kind of book’ in every way, but the more I read and the more I thought about it, the more reasons emerged. From the beginning of the novel there were little details that bothered me. The plot often felt contrived, as pieces fell together too nicely. Of course life is crazy and there is always the possibility of the little pieces falling in the most peculiar way, but when all of your characte At first I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why I was not enjoying a book that sounded as though it would be ‘my kind of book’ in every way, but the more I read and the more I thought about it, the more reasons emerged. From the beginning of the novel there were little details that bothered me. The plot often felt contrived, as pieces fell together too nicely. Of course life is crazy and there is always the possibility of the little pieces falling in the most peculiar way, but when all of your characters’ lives seem to follow that incredible pattern, it begins to feel ridiculous. Some of the characters themselves also became clichés. Perhaps I reached a certain point in the story where I began to look for things that bothered me and therefore found them more readily than other readers. Yet, Norah, the mother of the twins, and her sister, Bree seem to never really develop. Bree is the young, free-loving free-spirit who is thus almost a danger to Norah’s thoughts on life – and that is what she remains, even when older and diagnosed with cancer (although Norah does come to appreciate her). Norah, whose life unravels for a bit after she thinks her daughter has died, drinks too much and then begins having affairs, and this is who she remains for most of the novel. The characters just seemed too much like a sappy Lifetime movie for me to really take them inside of me and keep with me. I was also very disappointed in the character of Phoebe, the Down’s syndrome daughter given away by her father. She was the driving force of the novel and yet we really never know her other than glimpses through the eyes of Caroline. Paul, her twin brother, is given thoughts but Phoebe’s mind remains a mystery. I understand the difficulty in writing honestly for a character with Down’s but I kept thinking of the autistic narrator in Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time who was so rich and incredible and believable (if you haven’t read this one, please do!!). I just thought that Edwards had a mission in humanizing those who suffer Down’s syndrome; and that she herself undermines her purpose with the complete omission of Phoebe’s voice. I wanted to know this child as a child and not as a sad plot device. In all fairness, however, I have to say that I did love certain passages, as Edwards’ poetic language captured me wholly. In the end, I think that my largest issue with this book was the absolute destruction of this family. I know that what happened at the birth of the babies was tragic and life changing but I felt as though it was a bit contrived that it drove every emotion and interaction afterwards for the remainder of the characters’ lives. Perhaps, for me, it just made their bonds from the beginning suspect as their destruction was made so inevitable by that one tragic mistake. I didn’t believe it and perhaps, because we read to understand others and to change ourselves, I do not want to believe it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    DeLaina

    I read a bunch of reviews of this book prior to reading it myself, and wasn't sure whether or not I would enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked this book quite a bit, and here's why: 1. The story was fascinating! What would I have done in that situation? It was fun to imagine myself as Norah, Caroline, David or Paul and determine if my actions would mirror theirs, or if I would have done things differently. 2. The metaphors and imagery that Edwards uses are captivating. For exa I read a bunch of reviews of this book prior to reading it myself, and wasn't sure whether or not I would enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked this book quite a bit, and here's why: 1. The story was fascinating! What would I have done in that situation? It was fun to imagine myself as Norah, Caroline, David or Paul and determine if my actions would mirror theirs, or if I would have done things differently. 2. The metaphors and imagery that Edwards uses are captivating. For example, she describes "crocuses shouting" and "a wedge of air coming through an open door". The juxtaposition of physical characteristics ascribed to inanimate objects, and the fusion of opposites added texture to the story. Going along with that, she used the wind as a metaphor-unrest, loneliness, loss, guilt, shame, it spoke a different language to each of the characters and manifested itself in interesting ways. The obsessive compulsive picture taking, the drive to make sense of the world, the bones, the running, the travel-all of these were terrific physical manifestations of inner turmoil, some blatant, others, subtle reminders of the loss. 3. Edwards descriptive abilities made it seem that I was in the room with the characters. She pointed out the pattern of sunlight cascading through the windows, or other mundane details that so many other authors gloss over or ignore because they are too busy telling about events that happen. I realize that in some cases this can be construed as "dragging, boring, or slow" but Edwards used such beautiful, interesting language to describe those things, that it made the story come alive for me, and I felt like I was a participant observer, rather than just an observer. 4. One of my personal fascinations is tracking and tracing the pivotal points in people's lives that determine who they really are. Naturally this book was all about how one seemingly right decision affected dozens of lives. How would they have been different if different decision were made? The only really bothersome thing was that nobody triumphed over the loss...no matter how hard they tried...so, is this a cautionary tale to always tell the truth? To not make decisions based on how you think someone will react, but to give them the agency to decide that for themselves? I understand how the outcomes of each of the characters happened, but also would have liked to have seen some triumph and salvation-and perhaps that's what Rosemary and Jack were supposed to be, at least for David. He couldn't fix his own family so he spent his time fixing others-literally and figuratively. And, I guess, ultimately Phoebe and Caroline triumphed...I just don't like to believe that suffering a loss reduces us to throwing our lives to the wind. I want to think that peace and hope can still be found.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is one of those books that I always see people reading in parks and on the subway, and I just want to shout at them, "Save yourself! There's still time to quit reading!" Really, it's one of those books that has an interesting premise/situation, but doesn't go anywhere. The interesting premise is this: a couple has twins and the father sneaks away with the one twin who has Downs Syndrome. The mother doesn't know about this baby and it's raised by the father's coworker. You're interested, rig This is one of those books that I always see people reading in parks and on the subway, and I just want to shout at them, "Save yourself! There's still time to quit reading!" Really, it's one of those books that has an interesting premise/situation, but doesn't go anywhere. The interesting premise is this: a couple has twins and the father sneaks away with the one twin who has Downs Syndrome. The mother doesn't know about this baby and it's raised by the father's coworker. You're interested, right? Well, watch out, because after the initial birth scene, which is good, nothing happens for 200 pages. The author drags you through the book, dangling the moment that the mother finds out about her daughter in front of you. If this had been an actual good, daring book, it would have started at the point where the mother finds out about her long-lost daughter. Instead, it ends there. Cop out! Waste of time! Emotionally empty!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lisette Brodey

    Wow, I'm really torn as to what to say about this book. I will start by saying that Kim Edwards is a skilled writer and there's no taking that away from her. Her words flow beautifully and that was greatly appreciated by me. I began reading this book and fell in love with it. From the beginning, I was very sure that I was going to rate it with five stars. I was intrigued by the premise: It's 1964 and a doctor's wife gives birth to twins. The twins were unexpected (no ultrasounds back then) and so Wow, I'm really torn as to what to say about this book. I will start by saying that Kim Edwards is a skilled writer and there's no taking that away from her. Her words flow beautifully and that was greatly appreciated by me. I began reading this book and fell in love with it. From the beginning, I was very sure that I was going to rate it with five stars. I was intrigued by the premise: It's 1964 and a doctor's wife gives birth to twins. The twins were unexpected (no ultrasounds back then) and so the second baby, a girl with Down's Syndrome, was a shock. In the panic of a moment, the doctor, who had lost his own sister when she was 12 (due to a heart problem), panics and gives his newborn daughter, Phoebe, to his nurse, Caroline. He wants to spare his wife (and himself) the pain of having a child with Down Syndrome who might not live long. Caroline takes the baby to the home, but when she gets there, she realizes she cannot leave the child in such a wretched place and makes a split-second decision to keep her as her own. The author skillfully goes back and forth between the doctor's family, David and Norah Henry (and their son, Paul) and Caroline's life with the girl, Phoebe. I was intrigued. Somewhere, around page 175, I started not liking the book so much. What had been a taut, interesting story, started taking little side trips that I felt tarnished the characters and didn't stay within what I thought the author had set up. But I didn't want to dislike the book for this reason, because I don't expect the author to go where I might go or where I might have liked to see her go. Still, the things that were going on kept nagging at me and making me uneasy in a way that I don't think were intended to make me uneasy. I began to care less and less about the characters, but stayed with the book because it was interesting to see where it went and I had already invested so much time in reading it. There were too many long descriptions of things that didn't matter to me, and no matter how hard I tried, I didn't get to know the characters in the way I thought I should. I am stuck in the middle. In the end, I didn't really care for it all too much, but cannot say that others would not. I give the writer kudos for being so skilled with the English language. I didn't really care about any of the characters very much in the end, if at all, and I think that's what really soured me on this book. This is a hard one for me to judge. If you're at all interested, read it for yourself and see what you think.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The Memory Keeper's Daughter crept up on me in a way I never expected. After reading many conflicting reviews I assumed I would either DNF this book at worst or slap 3 stars on it at best. In 1964, Dr. David Henry delivers his own twins. His son is perfectly healthy. His daughter is born with Down's Syndrome. Remembering his own sickly sister who died young, and the unending sorrow it caused for his mother, he is determined to protect his wife from the same heartache. He asks his nurse to take th The Memory Keeper's Daughter crept up on me in a way I never expected. After reading many conflicting reviews I assumed I would either DNF this book at worst or slap 3 stars on it at best. In 1964, Dr. David Henry delivers his own twins. His son is perfectly healthy. His daughter is born with Down's Syndrome. Remembering his own sickly sister who died young, and the unending sorrow it caused for his mother, he is determined to protect his wife from the same heartache. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution, but Caroline, the nurse, chooses to disappear into another city to raise the child herself. The story unfolds over 25 years - two families, unknowingly bound by the fateful decision made long ago. Let me start off by saying, this book is not for the faint of heart. It is not a happy story. Dr. Henry and his wife Norah live a life teeming with grief; a heavy secret, unbeknownst to Norah, settles between them and grows ever larger as the years go by. It's a story I might not have understood a few years ago. I've always been troubled by characters that keep secrets or avoid having important conversations, usually thinking it was bad plot device. But I've recently experienced things in my own family that have opened my eyes to certain behaviors. I think this was something that happened a lot in the 60 and 70s. For whatever reason, families tended to brush things under the rug and keep skeletons in the closet. One of my favourite things about this book, apart from the writing which I found deeply engrossing, was the passage of time. This book takes place over 25 years and I was never once confused about what year it was or how old the twins were at any given time. Kim Edwards' storytelling is seamless; one chapter melting perfectly into the next, even if they were five or ten years apart. This story won't be for everyone, but it's one I won't forget anytime soon.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    **SPOILER FREE REVIEW** Reading this book was like an up-hill battle for me. I have looked forward to reading it for so long and was expecting great things based on all the praise-worthy reviews on the book jacket. Boy was i disappointed! The plot and synopsis of the story had such excellent promise but along the way the author dropped the ball. It was very difficult to relate or sympathize with Norah Henry, even though she is the one wronged by her husband's rash (but not unfounded) decision to **SPOILER FREE REVIEW** Reading this book was like an up-hill battle for me. I have looked forward to reading it for so long and was expecting great things based on all the praise-worthy reviews on the book jacket. Boy was i disappointed! The plot and synopsis of the story had such excellent promise but along the way the author dropped the ball. It was very difficult to relate or sympathize with Norah Henry, even though she is the one wronged by her husband's rash (but not unfounded) decision to lie about the "supposed" death of their mentally defected daughter while keeping her healthy twin brother. Norah's self destructive ways and at times selfish childishness did nothing but annoy me and drive me farther away from her pain. What the author did really well was humanizing Dr. David Henry because reading the back of the novel i thought he was a monster. He was the only character i actually felt was not overly contrived. Phoebe "the memory keeper’s daughter" did not have a true voice in the whole novel and that was a poor choice by the author. The major climax and confrontation i was hoping would happen between members of the family never occurred; instead the author decided do something that was shocking but totally unnecessary to the digression of the conflict. So why did i bother giving it 2 stars? Because the one question i wanted answered -- what would possess a man to do such a horrible thing as to not only give away his newborn daughter but then lie about her death? -- was convincingly answered and somewhat understandable. Also the book was beautifully written, and i appreciate any book that can evoke emotion based on simple sentence construction. So, i will look for other books by Kim Edwards -- at the library not the bookstore, for now.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Dark Trees in the Heart The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a story about a secret--a terrible, life-altering secret running central to the story and in the lives of the characters. In spite of spanning only twenty-five years, it has an epic feel. A lot happens. We first meet Norah and David Henry on the stormy night she gives birth to twins. The boy, Paul, is born healthy. The second, an unexpected daughter, is born with Down's Syndrome. While his wife lay unconscious, David, a doctor who presides Dark Trees in the Heart The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a story about a secret--a terrible, life-altering secret running central to the story and in the lives of the characters. In spite of spanning only twenty-five years, it has an epic feel. A lot happens. We first meet Norah and David Henry on the stormy night she gives birth to twins. The boy, Paul, is born healthy. The second, an unexpected daughter, is born with Down's Syndrome. While his wife lay unconscious, David, a doctor who presides over the deliveries because their doctor is unable to get to them due to the snowstorm, makes the decision to tell his wife the second child died. Trying to spare his wife the pain and suffering of having a child who, in his mind would surely die an early death, hands the baby to his nurse, Caroline Gill. He instructs her to take the child to an institution. Caroline finds she cannot leave the baby in this place, moves away and raises "Phoebe" on her own. This sets the stage for the terrible secret David must live with and the consequences it has on his family. It's called The Memory Keeper's Daughter because David takes up photography and becomes obsessed with the process. Diving into his hobby, which ultimately brings notoriety to him, he is able to take his mind off his secret, and yet at the same time, focus on the life his lost daughter leads away from him. Photography/snapshots/captured moments are the metaphor for this family and this beautifully written story. There is tremendous detail and one can feel the author using a variety of lenses to provide both wide-angle and tight, intimate views of each scene. Although at times I felt it to be a bit repetitive and wished it were shorter by 50-100 pages, I enjoyed the writing so much, along with the emotion it drew from me, that it didn't matter. I kept turning pages waiting to see how it would all play out. I wasn't disappointed. This book made me ask the question . . . "what if?" It also illustrated David's view of the world and Paul's discovery, that "each person was an isolated universe. Dark trees in the heart, a fistful of bones." Very well done.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tung

    The book begins in 1964. A doctor delivers his own wife’s son, and to his own surprise, their son’s twin sister as well. From her physical features, the doctor recognizes the child has Down’s Syndrome and to protect his wife from the grief of having a child die early (common for Down’s children back then) since he and his own family had to deal with the death of his sister when she was young, the doctor hands the child over to his trusted nurse and instructs her to take the child to an instituti The book begins in 1964. A doctor delivers his own wife’s son, and to his own surprise, their son’s twin sister as well. From her physical features, the doctor recognizes the child has Down’s Syndrome and to protect his wife from the grief of having a child die early (common for Down’s children back then) since he and his own family had to deal with the death of his sister when she was young, the doctor hands the child over to his trusted nurse and instructs her to take the child to an institution nearby. The doctor then lies to his wife and tells her their daughter died at childbirth. Instead of delivering the child to the institution, however, the nurse instead runs off with the child to raise it as her own. The rest of the book’s plot hinges on these two fateful decisions: the doctor’s choice to give up his daughter and lie to his wife, and the nurse’s decision to raise the girl as normally as possible. Note to self: if a book’s author is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, put the book down and walk away. This book is as cliché as they come – not just in the plot and the characterizations, but also in the prose. The plot sets itself up for ongoing tension between the characters due to their past decisions, and then allows all of the characters to redeem themselves at the end. The characters are stereotypes: the noble doctor struggling with a past decision motivated by his past grief; the unsatisfied grieving mother who finds solace in other ways; the noble mother who raises a disabled child to prove that everyone deserves equality. It’s like the Iowa Writer’s Workshop deliberately teaches its students to dream up plots worthy of an Oprah’s Book Club Selection. My biggest grievance is that Edwards overwrites every scene. We understand that the characters all have made decisions they regret, and that their pasts inform their present and future actions. We actually don’t need the narrative to spell that out for us in EVERY SINGLE SCENE. We also understand symbolism: early on, there is a scene where the doctor’s wife destroys a wasp nest to prove to herself that she is capable and able to handle things herself without having the doctor protect her and control her – and yet the author has to point that out to the reader, that the wife felt capable and felt like she didn’t need to be protected any longer. Apparently, Iowa doesn’t teach Subtlety as a course offering. Pass on this, unless you have no sense of discernment and like trite stories.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    A beautiful and moving story about a secret kept for 25 years and the effects on the people involved. I really enjoyed this one. I knew the secret world come out eventually, I just had that feeling that it would, but I love how the writer moved each of the characters through the story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Children being treated like meat puppets, disabled children being lesser, unwanted, cheating spouses and gawdlike doctors...spare me. Very mawkish writing, quite clearly aiming to Be Emotional and Send A Message: You can't stop time. You can't capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down. –and– She imagined herself as some sort of vessel to be filled up with love. But it wasn't like that. The love was within her all the time, and its only renewal came from giving it away. Please Children being treated like meat puppets, disabled children being lesser, unwanted, cheating spouses and gawdlike doctors...spare me. Very mawkish writing, quite clearly aiming to Be Emotional and Send A Message: You can't stop time. You can't capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down. –and– She imagined herself as some sort of vessel to be filled up with love. But it wasn't like that. The love was within her all the time, and its only renewal came from giving it away. Pleased for you if this guff makes you happy. It does not make me anything but irked.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    📸 After reading the description for this book I hadn't expected to feel any sympathy for the husband, but I did. It was interesting to find myself feeling a great deal of compassion for someone who made a decision that I find absolutely appalling. Telling your wife that one of the twins has died, rather than telling her she had Down's syndrome is something I can never really condone, even in a fictional scenario. It's such a mind-boggling lie to tell anyone, let alone your spouse. Thankfully the 📸 After reading the description for this book I hadn't expected to feel any sympathy for the husband, but I did. It was interesting to find myself feeling a great deal of compassion for someone who made a decision that I find absolutely appalling. Telling your wife that one of the twins has died, rather than telling her she had Down's syndrome is something I can never really condone, even in a fictional scenario. It's such a mind-boggling lie to tell anyone, let alone your spouse. Thankfully the story that formed around that lie was very compelling and I was able to enjoy it. I did enjoy the chapters where Norah grappled with her grief, struggled to deal with a marriage that no longer works. Her relationship with her sister was especially interesting. However, it was the parts that followed Caroline and Phoebe that really stood out to me. This book made me realise that I had never really given much thought to the determined parents who fought hard for the rights of their children who were born with Down's syndrome. Sadly, David Henry's reaction to his daughter, his decision that she should immediately sent to an institution, was the prevalent view at the time. I didn't know how little was known about Down's syndrome at the time, or that it was such a struggle to be taken seriously by doctors, schools etc. This was what really absorbed me and what I keep thinking about in the time since I have finished reading the book. “What would happen, they conjectured, if they simply went on assuming their children would do everything. Perhaps not quickly. Perhaps not by the book. But what if they simply erased those growth and development charts, with their precise, constricting points and curves? What if they kept their expectations but erased the time line? What harm could it do? Why not try?”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Although the premise was extremely interesting, and there were true moments of brilliance in her characterizations, descriptions, and interactions, this book, more than anything, left me incredibly angry at the author. [Contains spoilers!:] Her characters are very deep, but only in one dimension. Her two stories are so clearly divided between good and evil, it's unrealistic. The last 50 pages or so are so filled with action that it made me wonder if she got to a certain point and her editor told Although the premise was extremely interesting, and there were true moments of brilliance in her characterizations, descriptions, and interactions, this book, more than anything, left me incredibly angry at the author. [Contains spoilers!:] Her characters are very deep, but only in one dimension. Her two stories are so clearly divided between good and evil, it's unrealistic. The last 50 pages or so are so filled with action that it made me wonder if she got to a certain point and her editor told her she had to finish within a certain number of pages or time. At that same time, those pages are suddenly filled with inconsistencies (David clearly states he burnt all the letters, but somehow we're supposed to believe that he somehow missed some, b/c Paul and Norah find them later -- David was too meticulous for that), surprising coincidences (Caroline just happens to show up -- for NO apparent reason -- just as Norah is "discovering" about David chronicled little girl's lives), and events with no motivation (why did Caroline suddenly show up -- saying "oh I'm glad I caught you" (my words, not verbatim) when she finds out that Norah's just about to move -- it could have been tied to David's death, to Phoebe moving out or getting married, but instead we're given absolutely NO motivation). Not to mention that we're supposed to believe David died in his 50s from running. Running??? We were never given any reason to believe he had any medical problems, and if anything, the stress in his life had dissipated! Add on the fact that she brings up the same metaphor over and over again (get rid of that damn wall, already, we know it's there! You don't have to point it out!), it was all rather frustrating. The only saving grace was that so many members of my book club felt the same exact way.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    This book would have been better if they would have cut out all of the descriptions that were used. Too much "The wind is blowing, it was cold, etc". I wanted the author to get to the point already. Other than that a very sad story about the love between a husband and wife and the secrets that are kept between them. Although I enjoyed the book it was just ok because of all the extra that was there. This book would have been better if they would have cut out all of the descriptions that were used. Too much "The wind is blowing, it was cold, etc". I wanted the author to get to the point already. Other than that a very sad story about the love between a husband and wife and the secrets that are kept between them. Although I enjoyed the book it was just ok because of all the extra that was there.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    Wow.. This book was heavy. I listened to this in my car, so it stretched out for awhile and I got to think on it and talk about it a LOT. The narrator: Martha Plimpton (I guess there is also a version narrated by someone else) did a phenomenal book. She brought this book to life in an amazing way. 3 different accents AND two characters with down syndrome is impressive. These two separate families each with a twin told in chronological order from before birth and the life difficulties and joys be Wow.. This book was heavy. I listened to this in my car, so it stretched out for awhile and I got to think on it and talk about it a LOT. The narrator: Martha Plimpton (I guess there is also a version narrated by someone else) did a phenomenal book. She brought this book to life in an amazing way. 3 different accents AND two characters with down syndrome is impressive. These two separate families each with a twin told in chronological order from before birth and the life difficulties and joys between them was sometimes heart breaking and hard to listen to. A very great contemporary piece also deals a lot with the stigma of down syndrome and how people reacted to it and the fights for equal right for those deemed "retarded" or not worthy of a chance in life. Overall this book was very well written. I HIGHLY suggest experiencing the Martha Plimpton audio narration of it, if at all possible.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kei As in Keisha

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Beautiful writing, horrible story telling - I bought this book based on the back cover snapshot. No one recommended it to me, so I have no one to blame. My problem with this book is, the author had SO MUCH in the palm of her hand that she could have done with this story. But she was more interested in being poetic and symbolic - which is only good if it contributes to great storytelling. I was expecting to love the wife and feel emotionally connected to her throughout the book since she has been Beautiful writing, horrible story telling - I bought this book based on the back cover snapshot. No one recommended it to me, so I have no one to blame. My problem with this book is, the author had SO MUCH in the palm of her hand that she could have done with this story. But she was more interested in being poetic and symbolic - which is only good if it contributes to great storytelling. I was expecting to love the wife and feel emotionally connected to her throughout the book since she has been deceived, grieving for a dead daughter that did not really die. But instead, she turns out to be a self-centered, promiscuous whore which makes no sense to me whatsoever. There was nothing "driving" her to adultery. The poor excuse of feeling alienated or growing apart emotionally from her husband just doesn't cut it for me. The son was just not interesting to me. He was also too weak, again with no strong reason or explanation. Seriously, does a father working too many hours really cause his son to end up that disconnected? And his wife to end up a self-righteous adulterer? Throughout the book, neither the wife nor the son has any idea that their daughter/sister is still alive and being raised by the father's former nurse so this gives them no real excuse to behave the way they did... Also, the author tries to express that the father/husband spends too much time working and not with the family, YET they go on vacation TOGETHER, and as soon as he is out of sight, the wife strips and goes inside the neighbor's bungalow to get her freak on...WHY? There is no "why."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dia

    It's the first paperback I've read this year and also my first book that I've read and isn't MM this year. I planned on reading only MM books in 2019, but a coworker borrowed it to me saying it's a great one. Unfortunately it wasn't a great story for me. Maybe because I had high expectations? I don't know. But what I do know is that I am NOT a fan of this author's writing and that this #1 New York Times Bestseller didn't work for me. It ended being only an OK read, but nothing more. The blurb is It's the first paperback I've read this year and also my first book that I've read and isn't MM this year. I planned on reading only MM books in 2019, but a coworker borrowed it to me saying it's a great one. Unfortunately it wasn't a great story for me. Maybe because I had high expectations? I don't know. But what I do know is that I am NOT a fan of this author's writing and that this #1 New York Times Bestseller didn't work for me. It ended being only an OK read, but nothing more. The blurb is pretty interesting, and I expected much more! This story was LONG and extremely boring at times. There are too many characters and scenes that don't really matter. I didn't care for most of the characters. They were egotistical and I didn't agree with their choices AT ALL. I'm sorry to give this one only 2 stars, but it just wasn't my cup of tea and the ending wasn't satisfying.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    3.5 Stars A well-written and very emotional read. It took me a little longer than usual to get into the book. I did find it could be overly detailed at times that weren't especially important to the story. I would find myself easily distracted by other things going on around me. I am usually able to tune everything out when I am into a really good book. I will say that this wasn't the case very often but it was something I noticed. There was a lot of emotion along with many shocking and dramatic 3.5 Stars A well-written and very emotional read. It took me a little longer than usual to get into the book. I did find it could be overly detailed at times that weren't especially important to the story. I would find myself easily distracted by other things going on around me. I am usually able to tune everything out when I am into a really good book. I will say that this wasn't the case very often but it was something I noticed. There was a lot of emotion along with many shocking and dramatic events. Heartbreaking and dealt with many issues such as secrets, acceptance, and family dynamics. In the end I found it to be a thought provoking good read that would likely have been even better if it had been shorter and/or more condensed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    JBradford

    Wasn’t it just last night that I said I did not give out five stars easily? I have to do it for this book; yes, run out and read it as fast as you can, for this novel will give you whole new insights into the mysteries of life and love and grief. Most of the books I waste my time reading are plot-filled page-turners, in which the author has a tremendous story that pours out through the pages, and you get just a little comprehension of what makes the characters tick as they progress through the a Wasn’t it just last night that I said I did not give out five stars easily? I have to do it for this book; yes, run out and read it as fast as you can, for this novel will give you whole new insights into the mysteries of life and love and grief. Most of the books I waste my time reading are plot-filled page-turners, in which the author has a tremendous story that pours out through the pages, and you get just a little comprehension of what makes the characters tick as they progress through the action, but in the end how well do we really know Mary Denunzio or Stephanie Plum or even Jack Ryan? Read this novel, however, and you really, really get to know Dr. David Henry McAllister; his wife, Nora; his son, Paul; his nurse, Caroline Gill – you come to know them because the book is told in the third person from their respective points of view, with the linear plot unfolding as you see the action sequentially through their biased eyes. There is very little real action in this novel, however, although it springs from a single impossible act. Taking his pregnant wife to the hospital to give birth, David finds that he cannot get to the hospital because of the raging snowstorm, so he takes her to his own little clinic where he and his nurse, who is secretly in love with him, deliver the baby, a perfectly healthy boy, and then find that there is a twin sister, who has unmistakable symptoms of Down’s Syndrome. Thinking to protect his beloved wife from the problems of having to live with this, he tells his nurse to take the baby girl to an institution, which was actually quite the common thing in those days, and he tells his wife that their baby daughter died at childbirth. From that point on, we simply see these people living their lives, irretrievably bound together by a secret that only a few of them know. Caroline instead takes the baby to another city and raises her as her own child, while Norah and Paul’s lives become poisoned by thinking about the daughter and sister they thought was lost, and David wanders into a hell of his own making as the members of his family become alienated, while at the same time we learn more about his past and come to an understanding of what drove him to do this. Kim Edwards is a marvelous story-teller. Time after time, as I read her biting description of what it is like to love and to lose that love, I said: “That’s my life she is writing.” She understands fully how we all get caught up in our own imaginings so that we cannot be open to the people we love, even when we see that very condition driving them away. One of her messages, surely, is that change is always with us, and we have to live with that change and understand it, even through our human nature forces us to try to contain it and to keep things the way they used to be. Nora gives David a camera as a gift, and he gradually becomes a famous photographer, but the results of his overwhelming concentration on his new hobby only further forces his family apart, while they all keep looking back to the early feelings and memories of their relationships and try to comprehend what has happened to make them drift apart. We see the same patterns repeating over and over, not only in David and Norah’s lives but also with Caroline and her husband, then with Paul and his lover. One of the things that Kim Edwards is astonishingly good at is compressing the story. There is sex in these peoples’ lives, but it all takes place off stage, between chapters or between paragraphs, because it is not important in this story -- in vivid contrast to the novel I wrote about last night, for which sex was the very basis of the book. Similarly, one of the main characters dies offstage, between chapters, as if the passing is merely a minor incident, only faintly related to the plot. I cried three times reading this book, so filled with emotion that at one point I had to put it down and go read something else. Today, however, I had to take my granddaughter to the dentist and then to her swimming class, and the book conveniently was rediscovered under a pile of papers while I was cleaning up my office last night, so it was ready to hand when I had time to spend on it … with the inevitable result that I again got all caught up in the story and came home from a social event this evening and had to sit down and finish it. Definitely five stars; definitely a book to go back and read again some time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nola Redd

    Some moments in our lives are crossroads, moments where the course of our lives is shaped. Sometimes the deviation is minor, and sometimes it is life-altering. Such are the forces that form the first chapter of Kim Edwards’ novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. A dreadful snowstorm forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his first child, which to his surprise turns out to be twins. The first is a perfect son, ideal in all ways. But the second child has Down’s syndrome. In a moment that changed and def Some moments in our lives are crossroads, moments where the course of our lives is shaped. Sometimes the deviation is minor, and sometimes it is life-altering. Such are the forces that form the first chapter of Kim Edwards’ novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. A dreadful snowstorm forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his first child, which to his surprise turns out to be twins. The first is a perfect son, ideal in all ways. But the second child has Down’s syndrome. In a moment that changed and defined the life of all five people in the room – the twins, the parents, and the nurse – Dr. Henry requests that his nurse take the girl to a home for the mentally retarded. Instead, she takes the child away and raises her as her own. The mother is told only that her daughter was stillborn. Edwards traces the lives of the two families over the next twenty-five years. Dr. Henry sought to shelter his wife and son from grief, but his deep, dark secret winds up alienating him from his family, and the pain he caused may well exceed what they would have otherwise have suffered. His monumentous deception creates a wall upon which other lies are built. As he draws away from his wife, she draws away from him. Their deceptions impact their son, who begins erecting his own walls. Part of David’s withdrawl is accentuated by the gift of a camera that enables him to remove himself from his family’s life. Even when he is present for events and activities, he isolates himself behind the lens. Only years later does he come to realize that much of his life was spent in observation rather than active participation. Meanwhile, as Caroline raises the unwanted child, her perspective completely changes. Instead of waiting to be loved, she learns to find fulfillment in loving. After several years, she recognizes that she was not a passive victim but an active accomplice in the deception. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a tale of deception and treachery, but it is also a story of walls and barriers. Over and over again, David had the opportunity and even the desire to confess and come clean, and yet he never does. Instead, he remains silent, and his silence is frequently misinterpreted, driving another wedge between himself and those he loves. Although few of us deceive to such magnitude, the story manages to illustrate the price of deception of all sizes. Edwards has managed to weave a convincing story of tragedy, fully drawing the reader into her tale.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I highly enjoyed this novel. Reading some of the more negative reviews, I would have to disagree about the plot needing to be more exciting or the lack of depth in the characters. I believe that was the point of the novel entirely, we cannot label the doctor who gave away his child as "bad" because his troubled past was revealed and he was genuinely trying to do good, and it was clearly unfolding throughout the progression of the story that he began to regret his once-confident choice, but felt I highly enjoyed this novel. Reading some of the more negative reviews, I would have to disagree about the plot needing to be more exciting or the lack of depth in the characters. I believe that was the point of the novel entirely, we cannot label the doctor who gave away his child as "bad" because his troubled past was revealed and he was genuinely trying to do good, and it was clearly unfolding throughout the progression of the story that he began to regret his once-confident choice, but felt as though he had to remain stable and confident with his choices, which ended up making him a distant husband and individual. We cannot label his wife, Norah, as some sort of "pissy alcaholic", as she had been lied to about her childs death, then denied the right to grieve about it, followed by suddenly having a very distant husband. I believe some reading in between the lines was necessary to realize that these characters were going through emotional changes that were very realistic to real life and how the characters hardly even knew themselves, let alone were able to have very distinct and obvious personalities for the reader to fall in love with. Their growth and change over time was incredibly interesting to read about. The plot progressed slowly but in a satisfactory manner. There was constant stress and debate throughout the book from the doctor (David)'s side about whether or not he should reveal the truth to his wife, it was quite literally taking years off of his life. The novel would have appeared unrealistic if the characters somehow stumbled upon the downs syndrome baby on their own. The entire novel was believable, it had no "cheesy" or "eye-roll" moments like many chick-lit/adult fiction books often do. I liked this book far more than I intended to!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Dunckley

    A well written and sadly beautiful book—but unsatisfying. A blizzard causes Dr David Henry to have to deliver his own twin children. His son is beautiful and healthy, but the unexpected twin shows all the signs of Down Syndrome. At this point in history (1964), children with Down Syndrome didn't live long, were an embarrassment, and were frequently abandoned or sent to live their short lives in institutions. So David sends his loyal nurse Caroline to take the child to an appropriate facility and A well written and sadly beautiful book—but unsatisfying. A blizzard causes Dr David Henry to have to deliver his own twin children. His son is beautiful and healthy, but the unexpected twin shows all the signs of Down Syndrome. At this point in history (1964), children with Down Syndrome didn't live long, were an embarrassment, and were frequently abandoned or sent to live their short lives in institutions. So David sends his loyal nurse Caroline to take the child to an appropriate facility and tells his wife that their daughter was born dead. Instead, Caroline takes the child to raise herself, and disappears. The story goes back and forth between David's family and his son Paul, and Caroline's adopted daughter Phoebe. This heartwrenching story has even more impact for those of us who were unaware of the history of the victims of Down Syndrome. I had no idea that they were abandoned so routinely, nor that if they were sick, medical professionals would hint that it would be better to not even try to save them. Caroline and other parents in the book fought hard to change these attitudes, exactly as the parents of Down Syndrome children did in real life, and this is WHY so many of us are shocked at finding out this history. We grew up watching Corky on Life Goes On, we never heard the term Mongaloid Idiot, attitudes towards the “differently abled” have changed enough for this book to be shocking. Another remarkable thing about this book is that David, while he does something that most of us would consider bad, we still feel great sympathy towards him. Many writers would have chosen the easy path of making him be just the villain, author Kim Edwards creates a character whose behavior is understandable (not condoned, but understandable) because of the times. The downside of this book is that it is depressing and unsatisfying. Ironically, David is one of the most sympathetic characters, while his wife and son are kind of annoying. He and his family seem to constantly make choices that we the readers can see are stupid. I also felt that a long of things weren't resolved in the story, so it's not a book that I will want to keep and reread.

  28. 4 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    This book was tedious. This book was tedious.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joy D

    In Kentucky, 1964, Norah Henry goes into labor during a blizzard. Unable to reach the hospital, her husband, Dr. David Henry, must deliver his wife’s twins, a boy and girl, at his own clinic. The boy is healthy, but the girl has Down’s Syndrome. Dr. Henry, having lost his sister at a young age due to a similar condition, hands the girl to his nurse, and tells her to take the infant to an institution. He tells his wife the girl has died. The nurse takes the child but is unable to leave her at the In Kentucky, 1964, Norah Henry goes into labor during a blizzard. Unable to reach the hospital, her husband, Dr. David Henry, must deliver his wife’s twins, a boy and girl, at his own clinic. The boy is healthy, but the girl has Down’s Syndrome. Dr. Henry, having lost his sister at a young age due to a similar condition, hands the girl to his nurse, and tells her to take the infant to an institution. He tells his wife the girl has died. The nurse takes the child but is unable to leave her at the dismal institution. Instead, she decides to leave town and embrace the child as her own. In a desire to spare his wife the grief of dealing with their daughter’s presumed shortened life, David creates a whole new set of problems for their family. The novel covers the separate lives of the twins over twenty-five years. While many portions of it stretch belief beyond the breaking point, it is an unusual premise and is written in a compelling manner. This is a book about mistakes, regret, the ramifications of decisions, and the deleterious effects of keeping secrets. It shows some of the social issues faced at the time and how far we have come as a society in accepting those with mental challenges.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    It was soooo depressing and a waste of my time. I'll never attempt to read another book that I hate after the first chapter. I read it through and was feeling so annoyed at the story line and the melancholy of it all. I just didn't enjoy any of it. The husband makes a choice and thinks about it every freaking second of every minute!!! It wasn't my thing. Read and see for yourselves. It was soooo depressing and a waste of my time. I'll never attempt to read another book that I hate after the first chapter. I read it through and was feeling so annoyed at the story line and the melancholy of it all. I just didn't enjoy any of it. The husband makes a choice and thinks about it every freaking second of every minute!!! It wasn't my thing. Read and see for yourselves.

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