Nic ~ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

18 05 2009

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

TMKDI am finally reading this book!  Kim had bought it on one of our Chapters trips, and I planned to borrow it.  But after reading it Kim said I needed a copy all of my own, and next time we were at Chapters, it was on sale! Woot.  So, I am going into this book with great expectations, as Kim and my friend Claire who is also an avid lover of literature have both been urging me to start turning the pages.  It sounds intense.  I think this will be the very first book that Kim and I will have both reviewed on here, so I think it’s going to be ineresting to follow this one through to the end and compare opinions!  So, I had better get reading instead of writing.

I started reading this book almost 2 months ago.  I have never EVER taken so long to read a book.  I just could not get into it enough to get it all done in one foul swoop.  I’m not sure what the reasoning for that is either, because in the end I liked it.  It’s a sad book.  Really sad, and I was just sick of sad things I suppose.  Anyways.  Great book…I will come back to writing a more in depth review later this week. ..


KimN ~ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

28 02 2009

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter ~ by Kim Edwards


Wow! That is my first word for this book… it is fantastic!  I can’t even count the number of people I told about this book while I was reading it!  Before I go any further, I should probably give you a brief synopsis…

The novel begins in 1964, with the couple David & Norah heading out in a blizzard to the hospital to have their first child.  Due to the blizzard, they don’t get very far and David (who is an orthopedic surgeon) ends up delivering their son, Paul, at his practice, with the assistance of a nurse, Caroline.  To David & Norah’s surprise, a second child is born.  David, immediately recognizing the signs of Down Syndrome in his daughter, passes Phoebe to Caroline and instructs her to take the child to an institution.  Caroline changes the path of everyone’s lives by deciding to raise Phoebe on her own.  From here, the novel takes off and you see the ripple effect that this single event has on each character’s life.

While reading, I sort of felt like I was reading a novel for school – there are so many aspects of the book that you could analyze and dig in to.  The novel is divided in to sections, focusing on different stages of Paul & Phoebe’s lives as they grow up.  It is uniquely written, in that each chapter is told from the limited omniscient point of view of a different character.  This allows you to really see how David’s action affects all of the characters.  Each character seems plagued by something they cannot control, and throughout the novel you see them focusing on the tasks and aspects of their lives that they can control. 

David finds himself detached from his wife, because of the void that his secret has created – he told Norah that their daughter was a still-born and lives his whole live acting on this charade, even when he recieves letters and pictures from Caroline and Phoebe.  He becomes obsessed with photography, and pours his life in to trying to capture the perfect image – to immortalize a memory or a moment.  He uses his photography as a way to hide from the reality of his life, until it all unwinds in the conclusion of the novel (but I’ll leave it to you to read it and find out how it ends!).

Norah moves through her life with a void as well, but for her it is a void that exists because she feels she has lost out from never even having glimpsed her daughter.  She tries to fill this void by focusing on party planning, supporting her son Paul, and later in life by taking over a travel business.  Caroline pour herself in to being an advocate for Down Syndrome and fighting for equal rights in schools for these children, and she truly loves Phoebe as if she were her own biological daughter.  Paul grows up feeling the tension and distance between his parents, David & Norah, and focuses his talent and skills into music.

I could go on, but I’d rather leave it at this and encourage you to pick up this book!  It is a great, complex read with dynamic characters that draw you in throughout their journey in life.  If you are interesting in Down Syndrome, hobby photography, or how family secrets can tear people apart… read this book!!