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Kim Edwards : The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Author: Kim Edwards
Title: The Memory Keeper's Daughter
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Published in: English
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 401
Date: 2006-05-30
ISBN: 0143037145
Publisher: Penguin Books
Latest: 2015/05/18
Weight: 0.7 pounds
Size: 0.76 x 5.06 x 8.25 inches
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Description: Product Description
Award-winning writer Kim Edwards's The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted family drama that explores every mother's silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you?

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 beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by David Henry's fateful decision that long-ago winter night.

A rich and deeply moving page-turner, The Memory Keeper's Daughter captures the way life takes unexpected turns and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that occurs when long-buried secrets burst into the open. It is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.

Reviews: Jules (USA: NY) (2007/02/06):
Imagine my excitement when I scooped up a "Bookmooch top 100 wishlisted items" book. Not only that my friend with ADD who cant hardly make it through a taco let alone a novel loved it. I however think it sucked cheese. No wait let me put it another way it...gently and slowly like a babys breath inhaled the sour sweet smell of a fine white crisp round like the moon wheel of lovingly aged like my grandfather cheese while the rose tinted lips pressed themselves against the chalky flaky cheese crust. Maybe you will like it. Maybe you will be haunted in your dreams by overly descriptive metaphores.

dara (USA: NC) (2007/02/17):
I actually was quite excited to mooch this book, but found it to be pretty slow and painful to read. Not impressed.

Leslie Wulf (USA) (2007/03/15):
This book review sounded awesome, but it was one of the slowest books I have ever read. Please mooch it from me!

Rina (USA) (2007/03/17):
Slow and ultimately depressing, I had heard great things and was fully disappointed.

Robin (USA: PA) (2007/04/11):
Like new with litle crease on front cover

lusea (Canada) (2007/04/13):
I think this was a great book, I liked it it was different then your basic fiction crap where theres a girl and a guy and a crime and they fall in love. I liked the back and forth of it and though it was a pretty good book. Not sure what the other review-er's are talking about as far as it being a slow read, I didn't find my self having to stay up till 4am to find out the ending, but I still wanted to read it to find out.

Jena (USA: CT) (2007/04/22):
A great read, I didn't put it down. Perfect for a cross-country flight or roadtrip!

Sorchah (USA: IL) (2007/05/26):
This book was okay. I don't understand how some people found it slow...I found it quite addictive. It was way too descriptive, however, and that got old pretty quickly. Halfway through, I was tired of reading it, but had to know how it ended.
Kind of like Dickens with a much better plot. You migh avoid it like the plague like you do Dickens...or you might keep it under your pillow until you die. I think it's a love-it-or-hate-it kind of book.

Renee G (USA: AL) (2007/06/09):
I enjoyed this book, finishing it in one day. The story had some unexpected turns. So glad I was able to Mooch it, seems to be a much wanted book by many folks

Stephanie Bryant (USA: NV) (2007/07/17):
I listened to this as an unabridged audiobook. It is a very flowery book, with tons of over-description decorating it everywhere. Normally, I would find the style irritating. In audio format, however, it's not quite as bad. I listened to it while driving and, more often, while knitting. It's definitely a good "while knitting" book. Your eyes are already engaged in something treat-ful, and then your ears start passing all this flowery imagery to your brain, so it basically gives you an overdescription high.

As for the content of the book, I sort of liked it. I think I was looking for something a little different than these very sad lives orbiting each other, each person unaware of the pain the others are in. I never found any emotional honesty between the main characters (the people who actually had agency to change). For that reason, I would label this as a family tragedy.

I give this one a B. It's good, but has some flaws that make it less than excellent.

Carly (USA: NV) (2007/10/07):
While this book was certainly engaging, I probably won't read it again. It had an interesting story that was written poorly. The writer tries to be very detailed and picturesque but it comes off as distracting after awhile and forced. A good book, but not a classic. I'm not sure why it's such a bestseller... I found it to be a subpar version of "The Lovely Bones."

Susan (USA: NJ) (2007/10/29):
if you have the concentration of an elephant, this book is for you. if not, then this book is for your toilet paper.

Kate (USA: WA) (2007/12/06):
I don't know whether or not I ultimately liked this book or not. On the one hand, I couldn't put it down- it was completely addicting. The story was very engaging and I plowed my way through all the descriptive text (and overly numerous flash-backs) just because I needed to know what happened next. I feel like I had trouble sympathsizing with most of the characters. In the end I would recommend this book, but be forewarned, it's rather depressing.

Tori M. (USA: PA) (2007/12/10):
i LOVED it

Denise (USA: NY) (2008/01/08):
Caution: If you have a special needs child this may not be the book for you. I read about 15 pages and had to stop reading.

laurencane (USA: FL) (2008/02/23):
Hated this book. The characters were shallow, and the plot slow and unbelievable. If I still have it lying around it is definitely going on my list of books to give away.

CRISTINA (USA: CA) (2008/04/07):

Linda (USA: CT) (2008/06/03):
Slow moving at places, but kept my interest on a flight to Aruba. It was either that or watch a boring movie. Would probably recommend for a Summer read.

calangill (USA: MA) (2008/06/13):
I hated this book! That said, I know it's popular, so someone might want it. :)

crazy jan (USA: IL) (2008/06/17):
The first third of the book grabbed me, the last 2/3 was slow as a snail. I kept waiting for the good part to return--it never did. I wanted to slap Norah--what a self-centered brat. And so out-of-character at the end to want to take Phoebe home. Skip this one!

lorena_k (USA: PA) (2008/06/18):
Heart wrenching story of a family not given a chance to bloom together. Loved it unlike lots of others here. I would give it an 8 out of 10 stars.

jbatson (Canada) (2008/06/28):
I found it an interesting read, As a special education teacher, I could relate to the content. I liked it! Certainly not a "can't put it down" but an enjoyable read nonetheless. Mine is in pretty good condition, been read a few times. Still lots of reading life in it!!

Teresa (USA: AL) (2008/07/09):
I enjoyed this book, finishing it in only 2 days. I too found much of it overly descriptive. I often found myself skipping over paragraphs at a time, just to get back to the relevent parts. I realize that the medical world has evolved greatly since 1964, but I could still never fathom discarding a child because of a disability. I also can't even begin to imagine the heavy heart that David would have had to live with, bearing his secret. All in all, I would give this book an 8 out of 10.

Kristina (USA: OH) (2008/08/21):
Loved it.

Mefein (USA: FL) (2008/09/13):
As a writer myself, I'm impressed with both the plot and the writing in this novel. Its biggest "sin", if I read the other reviews correctly, is that it is a genuinely literary novel. It unfolds slowly, has a variety of sub-plots, and requires attention to detail. To those who, like me, had a special needs child (my daughter died at 30 of complications from her "special needs") I can only say - you missed an inspiring and truthful read. Like it or not, there are still people who are terrified of Down's Syndrome and in the era covered by the book it was absolutely ordinary to institutionalize them. That doing so was a tragic and self-limiting mistake is something to be easily seen now - but it doesn't change the history. The adult life of the youngster in the book is well described and realistic. Frankly, it put me in mind of some of the NON-fiction my daughter and I studied together as she worked to live a "normal" life despite others' prejudices. If you are willing to put in the effort to read a real literary novel, rather than the latest bodice ripper, this is a worthwhile book with a strong plot, well-drawn characters (including their various flaws) and a heck of a lot to think about.

Mari (USA: VA) (2008/09/26):
This is an absolutely wonderful book! While it isn't a quick read, it is definitely a book that will make you think. I debated with myself over whether to keep it because it was such a fantastic book or to mooch it out so someone else could enjoy it as well. I definitely recommend reading it but do so when you have the time to devote your full attention to it.

carlie (USA: ME) (2008/10/02):
I have to say, I really did not enjoy this book. I don't get a chance to read as often as I'd like, but when I do, I dedicate myself to whatever book I'm reading. So I don't often drop a book unless it's excruciatingly boring. Well, this was NOT boring at all. In fact, I thought it was very well written but just too heart-breaking. I enjoy a book that elicits a variety of emotions, but honestly this was like emotional torture with no hope in sight. About halfway through, I had to put it down and seek comfort!

Jan (United Kingdom) (2008/10/13):
The no 1 New York Times bestseller.

I really loved this book.
The story keeps you gripped,
full of interesting characters, well written.
A doctor delivers his own twins during a blizzard, and the only other person with him, besides his wife, is a nurse.
It is 1964, one baby is expected, a second, smaller baby emerges,
the doctor recognises the face of a Down's syndrome baby (Down syndrome if you are American).
The new father, whilst his wife is still unconscious, asks the nurse to remove the child and take her to a home for the mentally deficient.
When she sees the conditions there, the poor quality of care, and needing somebody to love, the nurse takes on the child herself and brings her up as her own.
This is the beginning of a long series of lies, guilt feelings, parallel lives, together with a totally sympathetic portrait of a Down's child.

Lauren (USA: NY) (2008/11/11):
I really loved this book. I read it very quickly, and I am not known for devouring books. Some say it is slow, and I agree and disagree. This book moves through different character's perspectives. Some of the character's chapters I raced through and others I had to labor through.
I would recommend it, though.

angela (United Kingdom) (2008/11/18):
Loved this book, really good story, it's a 'can't put down' one.

angie_daytripper (United Kingdom) (2008/12/10):
I really enjoyed this book, a real turn pager with well developed characters and a difficult subject very sensitively and humanely handled. I would definitely recommend it.

shan (USA: VA) (2009/04/23):
I enjoyed this book a whole lot. I did not like the ending though it just felt a bit unfair. But this book was worth the read. Was not a "page turner" but not a waste of time by any means.

♥princessjulia♥ (USA: DE) (2009/05/09):
I read this last year and liked it a lot. Can't say I loved it and I'm not a fan of overly-descriptive writing but this one was okay. It took me a day or two to read; the plot is fantastic!

hannah marx (USA: AK) (2009/07/21):
I had to force myself to finish it and everytime I see the book, I cringe. It's such a simple story to be dragged out for however many pages. I hated it.

Ben Babcock (Canada) (2009/10/20):
Review from Goodreads, posted under a Creative Commons NonCommercial-Attribution 3.0 License.

This is a story of curdled bitterness. One of the main characters tears his family in two and creates a gaping wound that doesn't heal until several decades later. A tale of "twins separated at birth", The Memory Keeper's Daughter explores how the secret complications of that separation affect all the members of the two families that raise these twins.

I appreciate her depiction of Down's syndrome in the '60s and '70s, as well as the challenges that parents of children with Down's syndrome faced, particularly in securing education and accommodation for their children. As someone who hasn't had much experience with Down's syndrome, I can't attest to Edwards' accuracy, but I think she got the emotional resonance down.

Often the conflicts in these books seem contrived and forced; that seldom happens in this story. The characters and their motivations seem real--irrational at times, sure, but that's because they're human. The relationships are a realistic, as is most of the plot, which is aided by creative license only when required to keep the story moving. Edwards makes me care about Caroline and her adopted daughter, Phoebe. She makes me resent David's actions and question whether Nora is really devoted to her son, or if every time she looks at him she's reminded of the daughter she "lost".

About two-thirds of the way through the story, another character, Rosalie, is introduced. I disliked this subplot, finding it somewhat random. In hindsight I understand Rosalie's purpose, of course, in that Edwards needed a way for David to become a father again and eventually decide to tell his family about Phoebe. But this is the only part of the book that feels contrived, which was disappointing in light of how good it is otherwise.

A moving story, I'd recommend this to others and read it again.

Debbi Higginbotham (USA: AL) (2010/03/11):
I'm going to have to stop reading books that get great reviews — I just don't seem to like the same things as everyone else.

I found this book depressing. I don't enjoy reading about dysfunctional families — infidelity, teenage angst, unwed mothers, drug use, inability to communicate, misunderstandings, etc. There's enough of that in real life. The story really seemed to go on too long.

I did enjoy the sympathetic way the author highlighted some of the issues faced by people with Down's Syndrome, but, all in all, I'm glad I'm done with that book!

The Lost Entwife (USA: GA) (2010/10/11):
I think the advice I'd give to someone getting ready to read this would be: It's interesting, it will suck you in, it's heart-breaking and it made me filled with anger.

Anger at the father, the nurse and everyone who decided that the life of the little girl should be hidden away. I keep trying to tell myself that it was understandable, but - it wasn't.

The writing was done well enough, there was nothing to nit-pick on and it definitely kept me interested in going, but this was not a feel good book to me and instead of being able to rejoice in the battles that Caroline won for Phoebe I wanted to scream and kick and make her give back the little girl she took away. Regardless of what David thought, Norah should have been given her baby- and that's what it boils down to. Shame on them and I feel resentment toward the author for not having the story go that way.

Lis (USA: GA) (2011/04/30):
Love this book. Wonderful read.

Beth (USA: MD) (2011/10/14):
I have to agree with quite a few of the mother Moochers. This book was... ehhh. I'm still trying to get my head around the high pedestal the author puts the city of Pittsburgh on (No offense to those who live there, but, really?).

My one praise for the book was simply Phoebe and Caroline. I was sorely tempted to skip to the parts about them and ignore the rest.

Paula Rangel (USA: AZ) (2011/12/01):
It wasn't a horrible book; it was a nice read but it wasn't the best either. If you're looking for incredible suspense and action and something that you'll stay up all night long reading, don't bother. But if you have patience and enjoy calm books this is a good read. I would recommend this book for those with not too much time, maybe one of those you read a chapter every night before you go to bed to make you sleepy. Overall it was a different kind of story and I liked it.

graceirene (USA: MN) (2012/01/03):
I couldn't put the book down; it kept me up half the night!

Ally Kay (USA: IN) (2012/08/07):
Disagree ENTIRELY with those that say that this book was slow. I absolutely couldn't put it down. It was enthralling and I wholeheartedly enjoyed the descriptive language.

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