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The Memory Keeper's Daughter: A Novel…
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The Memory Keeper's Daughter: A Novel (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Kim Edwards

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14,711446227 (3.46)1 / 414
Member:suzann.mackinnon
Title:The Memory Keeper's Daughter: A Novel
Authors:Kim Edwards
Info:Penguin Books (2006), Paperback, 401 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
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Work details

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (2005)

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English (437)  Dutch (3)  Portuguese (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (445)
Showing 1-5 of 437 (next | show all)
Seriously? That had to be the most anticlimatic ending ever. I never would have expected such a weak conclusion.
It seemed to me that Edwards tried so hard to be "deep" but she only succeeded in making what should rightfully be a quick read - a beach book - into far too wordy a novel.
( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I attempted to read this but it was a little "too much" for me right now. Maybe later.... ( )
  cubsfan3410 | Sep 1, 2018 |
This was the story about one man's decision to 'get rid of' one of his twins because of she had Down's Syndrome and the life-long ramifications of this decision for him and his family. It was set in the middle 1960's which is important to keep in mind when trying to understand the motivation behind this decision. I would assume that the medical and educational helps we have access to today wouldn't necessarily have been available then so in one sense this man's decision could be seen as perfectly logical.

Having said the above, I did feel that David, as good as his intentions may have seemed to him at the time, was being highly insensitive to take upon himself, without discussion with his wife, the decision to 'get rid of' Phoebe as if someone had made him God. The thing that really irked me about him was how he never included his wife in deciding what to do. Phoebe was not just his child but also Norah's and as such she had the right to be included in any, and all, decision making. As a result of David's lies (telling Norah that Phoebe was dead) was that he built a huge wedge between him and Norah which naturally affected their marital relationship (which he acknowledged many, many years later). Norah became distant from him, in part because he was caring around so much unnecessary guilt, but also because a part of her hadn't been able to really accept that Phoebe was dead, which of course she wasn't. Essentially one person's lies in this relationship slowly ate away at it leading to a very dysfunctional and unhealthy existence between the two.

I really admired Caroline for taking on the challenge of raising Phoebe like she did. I also admire her for seeing beyond the disability to the child underneath. This makes a massive difference to how someone responds to another human being. In the end, after David's death, Caroline was the one who had to break to Norah that her daughter was in fact very much alive and doing really well for herself. This was a credit to Caroline for believing that Phoebe had a right to some sort of existence and to be treated as much as possible as a normal human being. This she did with great aplomb and with a determination that allowed her to fight for both a better education for people like Phoebe and better medical care as well.


This book provides the reader with an excellent snapshot into the consequences of not only lying, but lying within an otherwise healthy relationship and how this affects the relationship. It also speaks to those who have children with a disability about the importance of fighting for that child's rights because they're human beings that deserve the best that can be provided. But I also believe there's another level that this book speaks to: the importance of not being rushed to grieve and get it over with. This latter level, in today's extremely busy society where everything needs to be done yesterday almost, there has never been a more important message to get out there. Grieving can not, and should not, be rushed. People grieve in different ways and at different times and this needs to not only be accepted, but also to be acknowledged. ( )
  zarasecker18 | Aug 22, 2018 |
It has been quite a few years since I’ve read this book, but it’s still with me. I still can’t imagine how he was able to go through with giving the daughter to the nurse and lying to his wife. Even in his mind if he was “saving” them. Still, all morals out the window! I don’t think I could have lived with myself. ( )
  Chelz286 | Aug 17, 2018 |
To write so eloquently about such a cold and desolate topic is testament to the author's skills and delicate observations of nature and human behaviours over time as 'moving images, unfolding and change'. ( )
  paperdust | Aug 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 437 (next | show all)
Kim Edwards's debut novel is a winner, and those who read THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER are going to want to read her next one. Highly recommended.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Abigail and Naomi
First words
The snow started to fall several hours before her labor began.
Quotations
They'd live their lives day by day, each one taking them another step away from their lost daughter.
... when he slid his arms around her again, he was thinking, I love you. I love you so much, and I lied to you. And the distance between them, millimeters only, the space of a breath, opened up and deepened, became a cavern at whose edge he stood.
Their lost daughter still hovered between them; their lives had shaped themselves around her absence.
She did not know that her discarded clothes fluttered in a wind that he himself had set in motion so many years ago.
This was the grief he had carried with him, heavy as a stone in his heart. This was the grief he had tried to spare Norah and Paul, only to create so many others.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A heart wrenching novel about human choice. Dr. David Henry makes a choice that forever changes lives of his family. Edwards delves into her characters and makes the reader feel as thought they are looking through a window into someone's life.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143037145, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:20 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"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." "The Memory Keeper's Daughter articulates a silent fear close to the heart of every mother: What would happen if you lost your child, and she grew up without you?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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