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The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
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The Memory Keeper's Daughter (original 2005; edition 2007)

by Kim Edwards

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12,944414177 (3.46)1 / 344
Member:Glorybe1
Title:The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Authors:Kim Edwards
Info:
Collections:Finished, Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

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

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English (405)  Dutch (3)  Portuguese (2)  Spanish (2)  All languages (412)
Showing 1-5 of 405 (next | show all)
A sad tale of what happens when someone lies...Dr. Henry gives his nurse his Down's syndrome newborn daughter, telling her to take Phoebe to an institution, and tells his wife that the other twin died. Despite having a healthy son, his wife mourns her daughter. From that moment on, Kim Edwards documents their downward spiral. Meanwhile, the nurse decides to raise Phoebe as her own. Twenty-five years of miscommunication, sadness interspersed with some happiness and more make this a must-read novel. ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book. It was shocking at points, sweet, tender, horrific. Beautiful. I don't really know what more to say about it. Worth the read and I will be passing it on to others. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
At the outset, I really enjoyed this book. I was sucked into the premise, and I could see that it had a lot of potential to be an incredible book. But somewhere along the way, Edwards dropped the ball.
For me, the most disconcerting thing about this novel was the characterization. After nearly an entire book filled with page after page of these characters' thoughts, emotions, inner struggles, etc., you would think the characters themselves would be leaping off the page at you. But about 3/4 of the way through the book, I suddenly realized I didn't know Norah at all. The young wife from the beginning transformed into this assured, powerful woman so suddenly that her character just didn't make sense. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn't really know any of the characters. Although you spend so much time inside the heads of these characters, all the little details don't quite add up into a believable whole.
The premise and the plot were very well-conceived, although it could move a bit slowly at times. I can see that Edwards is creating a study on the way lies can form and break relationships and lives, and there are some beautiful passages and some great truths to be found here. But after finishing it, my first though of ..."Eh. That wasn't bad," told me that Edwards could have done something more with this novel. ( )
  bookwormam | Jul 8, 2014 |
I listened to the audio book while driving, and didn't give up on it, because I really wanted to know how the secret would be revealed finally.

And I was disappointed.

The secret (kind of a spoiler, although it's on the book jacket) is that twins Paul and Phoebe have been separated at birth. Both Paul and his mother Norah think she is dead.

I liked the story of Phoebe and Caroline, the woman who raises her, but I found Norah and Paul to be insufferable. Paul is the "normal" one of the twins; Phoebe has Down syndrome. Paul is bland and passive.

The writing style is overly flowery and tiresome. There's no rise and fall of a climax. I felt no emotional connection to the major events in the characters' lives. It's all so very ho-hum.

( )
  keneumey | Jun 4, 2014 |
The story of Norah and David Henry begins in the early 60's with so much promise. Norah and David, a young doctor with dreams to cure and change the world, are expecting their first child. As fate would have it, Norah goes into labor early on a cold and snowy night. Unfortunately, with the blizzard raging, the roads are icy and dangerous and Norah's attending doctor has an accident and drives his car into a ditch and is unable to make it to the delivery. David is left to deal with the crisis alone and calls his nurse to assist in the middle of this blizzard. The nurse, Caroline Gill, is very much in love with David Henry and has based her love for him on one lingering look shared between the two of them during regular office hours. Caroline is a peculiar woman. Quiet. Reserved. Waiting to begin a life that she has envisioned for herself. She had fallen in love with David when she first saw him and began working in the office. David, however untimely for Caroline, met Norah and fell in love and Norah and David married. Caroline contains her love for David rather obsessively and from that once shared lingering look, believes that David Henry may have feelings for her. But for Norah.

Cut to scene in office on night of blizzard. David and Caroline are delivering David and Norah's child. Norah is given gas and is kind of in and out but aware of events. David delivers a healthy son and is in shock to discover that a twin is also to be born minutes later. Norah is shown the son she has given David and is given gas when complications arise during the birth of the twin.

From here, the story takes a very dark turn. David loves his wife and wants to protect her from unseen pain and heartache. David has demons from the past and because he knows of suffering and pain he does not want his young family to suffer the same fate. His intentions are good but miscalculating. Surely, David did not think his decisions through. Caroline, being so in love with David, goes along with David's heartbreaking decisions on this fateful night. Caroline believes that David will come to his senses and change his mind. Caroline does as David requests but makes decisions of her own.
David Henry has just altered the course of every life involved in this story. His life will now be filled with a huge void and many lies. There is no turning back. Caroline Gill has forever altered these same lives, most importantly, her own. Caroline will suddenly disappear.

It is heartbreaking to read how this story unfolds. David and Norah Henry, once so promising, are now consumed with grief and emotional walls that leave David to base his entire life on one lie after another. Norah is left empty and hollow and searching for something within her life. David searches for himself and others in photography, hoping to recapture meaning and growth along the way. Caroline is longing to find roots and happiness and someone to really love and see the real Caroline.

Over 25 years, one family is building. One family is tumbling towards complete destruction. Both are keeping secrets and making memories that will haunt those involved.

I give one a simple review. Nothing too preachy and filled with intellectual mumble-jumble. Ya' just want a review, right? OK. That said, I had originally given this book 3 stars but then I had to come back and edit those stars to 2 because I felt 3 was too generous. What started out to be a really interesting read became dull, repetitive and depressing. Did I say depressing? I had zero sympathy for ANY of the characters and I even despised a couple of them. I should have FELT something when I read this. Again, it starts off well. I really thought I had chose a great book. Once the chapters began to add up, so did my boredom. Instead of racing to the end to find out what happens next I was just hoping to finish with this dull,lifeless book. ( )
  MaryEvelynLS | Jun 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 405 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:35 -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 10 descriptions

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