Friday, August 22, 2014

"The Memory Keeper's Daughter," by Kim Edwards

"The Memory Keeper's Daughter," by Kim Edwards
Kim Edwards’s stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964 in Lexington, Kentucky, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down 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, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. 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 the fateful decision made that winter night long ago.

A family drama, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter explores every mother's silent fear: What would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? It is also an astonishing tale of love and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that occurs when long-buried secrets are finally uncovered.

I found I had more questions than answers when reading this book.  Granted it starts in 1964 and the medical world wasn't advanced as it is now, couldn't they figure out it was twins before the birth?  Also from a legal point of view this wouldn't/shouldn't have been possible to hand over a child to someone else just like that?  Or is it?

Anyhow, one of the good things after reading this book, is Down Syndrome is more understood and better tolerated nowadays than back in the 60's.  I found both David and Norah to be selfish character's, each wrapped up in their own little worlds, together but so far apart.  Even Caroline's decision to raise Phoebe (the Down Syndrome baby) herself is quite selfish; as how did she know that Norah wouldn't want to raise the child herself?  Granted Caroline gave Phoebe a terrific home and upbringing, but it wasn't her decision to make.  Also from Norah's point of view, she didn't have closure on the "death" of her child and that is something all parents would need to my mind?

Stars out of 5 : 4 The book kept me interested, but it was missing something.  With it skipping back and forward between the two families, I feel as though we missed parts of their lives.  Am I glad I read this book; yes it was enjoyable and it made you think.  It is well worth the read for that reason alone in my opinion.

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