Cart

The Memory Keeper's Daughter PDF, ePub eBook


Hot Best Seller
Title: The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Author: Kim Edwards
Publisher: Published May 30th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published June 23rd 2005)
ISBN: 9780143037149
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

10441-the-memory-keeper-s-daughter.pdf

In order to read or download eBook, you need to create FREE account.
eBook available in PDF, ePub, MOBI and Kindle versions


reward
How to download?
FREE registration for 1 month TRIAL Account.
DOWNLOAD as many books as you like (Personal use).
CANCEL the membership at ANY TIME if not satisfied.
Join Over 150.000 Happy Readers.


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 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.

30 review for The Memory Keeper's Daughter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Rhodes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Note: This review is chock full of spoilers! Read at your own risk. Ugh. This book was a disappointment. I was drawn in by the premise, my mother-in-law having borne twins where one was neurotypical and the other was not (cerebral palsy in our case). As I got into the story, though, its shortcomings became painfully apparent. The characters were shallow and unlikable. In particular I couldn't stand Norah, whose every hackneyed scene - from her flirtation with alcoholism to her tawdry affairs to h Note: This review is chock full of spoilers! Read at your own risk. Ugh. This book was a disappointment. I was drawn in by the premise, my mother-in-law having borne twins where one was neurotypical and the other was not (cerebral palsy in our case). As I got into the story, though, its shortcomings became painfully apparent. The characters were shallow and unlikable. In particular I couldn't stand Norah, whose every hackneyed scene - from her flirtation with alcoholism to her tawdry affairs to her rebirth as a liberated entrepreneur - recalled the one Danielle Steele book I read out of desperation during a boring summer at my parents' house. So many times, the plot seemed to be building up to a climax which inevitably fell flat - son Paul's drugged-out ransacking of his father's workroom, for example, could've led to his discovering the file on his sister, but instead was resolved with no revelations, just a lame father-son chat and an admonition to clean up the mess - what was the point? As for David and his photography, the title "Memory Keeper" would've been more poignant if, say, David had kept his photography a private thing, albums filled with desperately orchestrated scenes of 'happy' family moments that never were; instead, the author chose another Steele-worthy plot of turning him into a detached, semi-pro photo artist with some high-concept obsession with linking anatomy with nature scenes. Whatever. The question of how David pulled off his daughter's faked death is also nagging. Even if he did sign the death certificate himself, how did he swing the service and burial? Should we assume that he simply nipped down to "Caskets-R-Us" for a wee box, informed everyone that he stuck her in there, and that no one blinked an eye? The closest thing to a sympathetic, realistic character was Caroline, the nurse who raised Phoebe. And speaking of Phoebe, the author seemed to care less about transcending Down Syndrome stereotypes and fleshing her out as a fully-realized character than for using her as a bland abstraction, a screen against which the other characters project their neuroses and complicated life choices. The author is very enamored of setting a scene, right down to the dust motes in the air and the color of people's shoes. She puts too much effort into description and not enough on weaving a compelling plot. Redundancy and trite dialogue are a constant annoyance. Oh, and the whole Rosemary plot at the end? What? David just happens to stumble upon some pregnant homeless chick in his abandoned childhood home who's about Phoebe's age, and after she takes him prisoner and he confesses his precious sins to her, he basically adopts her like a neurotypical stand-in for the broken daughter he gave away? Was that supposed to be some act of redemption - taking in a girl and her baby to atone for the baby he rejected? The whole thing reeks of symbolism, but did anyone else just find this twist not only implausible but creepy? Feh. I struggled to finish this book, but I wouldn't recommend anyone doing the same to themselves.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I wanted to like this book. I plowed through the first fifty or so pages in an airport earlier this week and prematurely told several people that it is quite good. It is not. While the writing is okay and the main plot line is fairly interesting: * The author indulges in far too many unreasonably trite, cringe-worthy subplots; * It's positively brimming with baby boomer-centric sentimental claptrap; and * At least a half dozen scenes are completely ruined by the author's obvious naivete about the topi I wanted to like this book. I plowed through the first fifty or so pages in an airport earlier this week and prematurely told several people that it is quite good. It is not. While the writing is okay and the main plot line is fairly interesting: * The author indulges in far too many unreasonably trite, cringe-worthy subplots; * It's positively brimming with baby boomer-centric sentimental claptrap; and * At least a half dozen scenes are completely ruined by the author's obvious naivete about the topics she attempts to address. For example, consider this scene, where the teenage son of the protagonists is rebelling against his dysfunctional family relationships by - how original - smoking pot: In the living room, Duke was still lying with an arm over his face. [this is, mind you, after smoking one joint] Paul picked up the empty pizza box and the thin sheets of waxy paper and carried them out to the garbage can. The air was cool, the world brand new. He was thirsty like a desert, like a ten-mile run, and he carried a half gallon of milk back with him to the living room, drinking straight from the jug and then passing it to Duke. He sat down and played again, more quietly. The guitar notes fell through the air, slowly, gracefully, like winged things. "You got any more of that stuff?" he asked. "Yeah. But this'll cost." Need I say more?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    This book was terrible, not because it was bad, but because it was so good: I couldn't put it down until I finished the final pages at 3 in the morning. Not a good thing, when your alarm goes off at 5:50 AM. What fascinates me about this book is what it has to say about "secrets." The basic premise: a doctor is forced to deliver his wife's child in the middle of a raging snowstorm. The only complication is that she's actually carrying twins - the first, a healthy beautiful baby boy; the second, a This book was terrible, not because it was bad, but because it was so good: I couldn't put it down until I finished the final pages at 3 in the morning. Not a good thing, when your alarm goes off at 5:50 AM. What fascinates me about this book is what it has to say about "secrets." The basic premise: a doctor is forced to deliver his wife's child in the middle of a raging snowstorm. The only complication is that she's actually carrying twins - the first, a healthy beautiful baby boy; the second, a Downs Syndrome baby girl. The year is 1964, when such children are regularly institutionalized - after all, babies like this rarely survive long anyway, and even if they do, their quality of life is marginal at best. As a doctor, David Henry knows his daughters prognosis full well, and rather than force his young wife Norah to deal with such a tragedy, he makes a snap decision to try and protect her from a lifetime of unspeakable grief. His solution: hand the "defective" daughter to his nurse to deliver to an institution, while he informs his wife of the tragedy - she delivered twins, but her daughter did not survive childbirth. She is dead. Gone. With that simple little secret, the future is inescapably changed, his doom is sealed - unbeknownst to anyone, the nurse flees into hiding to raise the child as her own. The rest of the book is riveting, because we get to see firsthand the effects of his fall - on his relationship with his wife, his son, and eventually everyone else around him. It's a tragic book (I'm not sure I could read it again), because it's not Hollywood - it's brutally true to the lives that many of us have experienced ourselves. The one ray of hope comes unexpectedly, as David Henry confesses everything - no more secrets - to a young woman with child. In the silence David started talking again, trying to explain at first about the snow and the shock and the scalpel flashing in the harsh light. How he has stood outside himself and watched himself moving in the world. How he had woken up every morning of his life for eithteen years thinking maybe today, maybe this was the day he would put things right. But Phoebe was gone and he couldn't find her, so how could he possibly tell Norah? The secret had worked its way through their marriage, an insidious vine, twisting; she drank too much, and then she began having affairs, that sleazy realtor at the beach, and then the others; he's tried not to notice, to forgive her, for he knew that in some real sense the fault was his. Photo after photo, as if he could stop time or make an image powerful enough to obscure the moment when he had turned and handed his daughter to Caroline Gill. ... He had handed his daughter to Caroline Gill and that act had led him here, years later, to this girl in motion of her own, this girl who had decided yes, a brief moment of release in the back of a car or in the room of a silent house, this girl who had stood up later, adjusting her clothes, with no knowledge of how that moment was already shaping her life. She cut [paper] and listened. Her silence made him free. He talked like a river, like a storm, words rushing through the old house with a force and life he could not stop. At some point he began to weep again, and he could not stop that either. Rosemary made no comment whatsoever. He talked until the words slowed, ebbed, finally ceased. Silence welled. She did not speak. ... "All right," she said [at last]. "You're free." And this single act of honesty produces the deepest intimacy he has ever experienced - it's not sexual, but relational - with a human being who knows the very worst about him and yet who does not reject him for it. You can read the whole review here [http://seelifedifferently.blogspot.co...]...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Will someone please explain to me why, at my age, and I should know better, I'm stilled swayed by the words "No. 1 N.Y. Times Bestseller!"? I found this for fifty cents at my library's used book sale last week. A warning I clearly ignored. But it had a good title, a beautiful, mysterious cover, and lots of people are reading it. Lots of people watch "Oprah" and "The View", too. About halfway through the first paragraph I realized, too late to get my fifty cents back, that this is CHICK LIT. Not Will someone please explain to me why, at my age, and I should know better, I'm stilled swayed by the words "No. 1 N.Y. Times Bestseller!"? I found this for fifty cents at my library's used book sale last week. A warning I clearly ignored. But it had a good title, a beautiful, mysterious cover, and lots of people are reading it. Lots of people watch "Oprah" and "The View", too. About halfway through the first paragraph I realized, too late to get my fifty cents back, that this is CHICK LIT. Not even goofy, over-the-top fun chick lit, but "takes itself waaay too serious" chick lit pretending to be literature. The subtitle of this preposterous premised-book, choked with a mountain of useless detail, should have been "My Hidden Breastfeeding Agenda, Brought to You By the La Leche League". She goes on, on, on, and on about "the milk rising", and other numerous references to the Joy of Breastfeeding. At least in the first chapters. Then she drops it like a hot potato, busily filling the pages with endless detail about patterns on people's clothing and how the ground looks. Instead of working on character development. Anyway, the plot is just too much: Husband Pretends Handicapped Baby is Born Dead Keeps Big Secret From Wife and Marriage is NEVER THE SAME. Well, duh. The main characters, except Caroline, are wholly unlikeable. The writing is beyond tolerable; my eyes rolled so often they hurt. Edwards clearly has "The Writer's Guide to Trite" and "The Big Book of Cliches" on her reference shelf. Ugh. Why do rooms always have to be "small but immaculate"? Also, while casuarina trees and bougainvillea exist on Aruba, the "trademark tree" is the Divi-divi, and cacti are more typical than flowers. Let me guess, Edwards has never been there, right? And note to author: You don't know your ass from a hole in the ground about photography. "Photography is about secrets" she writes. Whaaaa???? I thought it was about revelation and discovery. Thanks, Kim, I'll bring my diploma from R.I.T to work tomorrow and shred it in the shredder. And my friends out there, if you ever hear me coin a phrase like "Memory Keeper" in reference to me being a photographer, please walk quietly up behind me and smash my skull in with a baseball bat. At least that will be more pleasurable than reading this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Man I hated this book- the plot had some great potential, but instead you got to witness one scene of frustrated people not knowing how to deal with their emotions after another. Seriously, imagine 60 someodd pages of: wife- "I'm sad, darling, talk to me" husband- "we can't have another baby" silence...followed by wife being angry and husband yet again being emotionally stunted...ok, fine, I see that it's a result of him giving away their daughter with downs syndrome, but I just wouldn't end! Af Man I hated this book- the plot had some great potential, but instead you got to witness one scene of frustrated people not knowing how to deal with their emotions after another. Seriously, imagine 60 someodd pages of: wife- "I'm sad, darling, talk to me" husband- "we can't have another baby" silence...followed by wife being angry and husband yet again being emotionally stunted...ok, fine, I see that it's a result of him giving away their daughter with downs syndrome, but I just wouldn't end! After about 10 of these scenes, we get the point. Then we progress to 60 pages of a new hell: son- "dad, I love music, you don't know who I am!" father "son, don't limit yourself to only this option" once again, fine as a single scene, but we have to endure it again and AGAIN. Then the book adds some completely random characters, has people reflect on life ad nauseum, and basically does nothing to make you care about any of the characters. Also, despite basing an entire story around the mistake of giving up a child because of a mental disability, it gave absolutely no credit to the young girl who has downs syndrome! She's more of a prop than a person, no part of the story is told from her perspective, and asside from the desire to marry her boyfriend, never gets the chance to show the world what she wants and feels. Great job reaffirming stereotypes! My boss loved this book, and some of my coworkers thought it was OK, but obviously I thought it was bad enough to write a barely-cohesive rant rather than a review. This book was a waste of time and paper.

  6. 4 out of 5

    DeLaina

    I read a bunch of reviews of this book prior to reading it myself, and wasn't sure whether or not I would enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked this book quite a bit, and here's why: 1. The story was fascinating! What would I have done in that situation? It was fun to imagine myself as Norah, Caroline, David or Paul and determine if my actions would mirror theirs, or if I would have done things differently. 2. The metaphors and imagery that Edwards uses are captivating. For exa I read a bunch of reviews of this book prior to reading it myself, and wasn't sure whether or not I would enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked this book quite a bit, and here's why: 1. The story was fascinating! What would I have done in that situation? It was fun to imagine myself as Norah, Caroline, David or Paul and determine if my actions would mirror theirs, or if I would have done things differently. 2. The metaphors and imagery that Edwards uses are captivating. For example, she describes "crocuses shouting" and "a wedge of air coming through an open door". The juxtaposition of physical characteristics ascribed to inanimate objects, and the fusion of opposites added texture to the story. Going along with that, she used the wind as a metaphor-unrest, loneliness, loss, guilt, shame, it spoke a different language to each of the characters and manifested itself in interesting ways. The obsessive compulsive picture taking, the drive to make sense of the world, the bones, the running, the travel-all of these were terrific physical manifestations of inner turmoil, some blatant, others, subtle reminders of the loss. 3. Edwards descriptive abilities made it seem that I was in the room with the characters. She pointed out the pattern of sunlight cascading through the windows, or other mundane details that so many other authors gloss over or ignore because they are too busy telling about events that happen. I realize that in some cases this can be construed as "dragging, boring, or slow" but Edwards used such beautiful, interesting language to describe those things, that it made the story come alive for me, and I felt like I was a participant observer, rather than just an observer. 4. One of my personal fascinations is tracking and tracing the pivotal points in people's lives that determine who they really are. Naturally this book was all about how one seemingly right decision affected dozens of lives. How would they have been different if different decision were made? The only really bothersome thing was that nobody triumphed over the loss...no matter how hard they tried...so, is this a cautionary tale to always tell the truth? To not make decisions based on how you think someone will react, but to give them the agency to decide that for themselves? I understand how the outcomes of each of the characters happened, but also would have liked to have seen some triumph and salvation-and perhaps that's what Rosemary and Jack were supposed to be, at least for David. He couldn't fix his own family so he spent his time fixing others-literally and figuratively. And, I guess, ultimately Phoebe and Caroline triumphed...I just don't like to believe that suffering a loss reduces us to throwing our lives to the wind. I want to think that peace and hope can still be found.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    At first I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why I was not enjoying a book that sounded as though it would be ‘my kind of book’ in every way, but the more I read and the more I thought about it, the more reasons emerged. From the beginning of the novel there were little details that bothered me. The plot often felt contrived, as pieces fell together too nicely. Of course life is crazy and there is always the possibility of the little pieces falling in the most peculiar way, but when all of your characte At first I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why I was not enjoying a book that sounded as though it would be ‘my kind of book’ in every way, but the more I read and the more I thought about it, the more reasons emerged. From the beginning of the novel there were little details that bothered me. The plot often felt contrived, as pieces fell together too nicely. Of course life is crazy and there is always the possibility of the little pieces falling in the most peculiar way, but when all of your characters’ lives seem to follow that incredible pattern, it begins to feel ridiculous. Some of the characters themselves also became clichés. Perhaps I reached a certain point in the story where I began to look for things that bothered me and therefore found them more readily than other readers. Yet, Norah, the mother of the twins, and her sister, Bree seem to never really develop. Bree is the young, free-loving free-spirit who is thus almost a danger to Norah’s thoughts on life – and that is what she remains, even when older and diagnosed with cancer (although Norah does come to appreciate her). Norah, whose life unravels for a bit after she thinks her daughter has died, drinks too much and then begins having affairs, and this is who she remains for most of the novel. The characters just seemed too much like a sappy Lifetime movie for me to really take them inside of me and keep with me. I was also very disappointed in the character of Phoebe, the Down’s syndrome daughter given away by her father. She was the driving force of the novel and yet we really never know her other than glimpses through the eyes of Caroline. Paul, her twin brother, is given thoughts but Phoebe’s mind remains a mystery. I understand the difficulty in writing honestly for a character with Down’s but I kept thinking of the autistic narrator in Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time who was so rich and incredible and believable (if you haven’t read this one, please do!!). I just thought that Edwards had a mission in humanizing those who suffer Down’s syndrome; and that she herself undermines her purpose with the complete omission of Phoebe’s voice. I wanted to know this child as a child and not as a sad plot device. In all fairness, however, I have to say that I did love certain passages, as Edwards’ poetic language captured me wholly. In the end, I think that my largest issue with this book was the absolute destruction of this family. I know that what happened at the birth of the babies was tragic and life changing but I felt as though it was a bit contrived that it drove every emotion and interaction afterwards for the remainder of the characters’ lives. Perhaps, for me, it just made their bonds from the beginning suspect as their destruction was made so inevitable by that one tragic mistake. I didn’t believe it and perhaps, because we read to understand others and to change ourselves, I do not want to believe it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is one of those books that I always see people reading in parks and on the subway, and I just want to shout at them, "Save yourself! There's still time to quit reading!" Really, it's one of those books that has an interesting premise/situation, but doesn't go anywhere. The interesting premise is this: a couple has twins and the father sneaks away with the one twin who has Downs Syndrome. The mother doesn't know about this baby and it's raised by the father's coworker. You're interested, rig This is one of those books that I always see people reading in parks and on the subway, and I just want to shout at them, "Save yourself! There's still time to quit reading!" Really, it's one of those books that has an interesting premise/situation, but doesn't go anywhere. The interesting premise is this: a couple has twins and the father sneaks away with the one twin who has Downs Syndrome. The mother doesn't know about this baby and it's raised by the father's coworker. You're interested, right? Well, watch out, because after the initial birth scene, which is good, nothing happens for 200 pages. The author drags you through the book, dangling the moment that the mother finds out about her daughter in front of you. If this had been an actual good, daring book, it would have started at the point where the mother finds out about her long-lost daughter. Instead, it ends there. Cop out! Waste of time! Emotionally empty!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisette Brodey

    Wow, I'm really torn as to what to say about this book. I will start by saying that Kim Edwards is a skilled writer and there's no taking that away from her. Her words flow beautifully and that was greatly appreciated by me. I began reading this book and fell in love with it. From the beginning, I was very sure that I was going to rate it with five stars. I was intrigued by the premise: It's 1964 and a doctor's wife gives birth to twins. The twins were unexpected (no ultrasounds back then) and so Wow, I'm really torn as to what to say about this book. I will start by saying that Kim Edwards is a skilled writer and there's no taking that away from her. Her words flow beautifully and that was greatly appreciated by me. I began reading this book and fell in love with it. From the beginning, I was very sure that I was going to rate it with five stars. I was intrigued by the premise: It's 1964 and a doctor's wife gives birth to twins. The twins were unexpected (no ultrasounds back then) and so the second baby, a girl with Down's Syndrome, was a shock. In the panic of a moment, the doctor, who had lost his own sister when she was 12 (due to a heart problem), panics and gives his newborn daughter, Phoebe, to his nurse, Caroline. He wants to spare his wife (and himself) the pain of having a child with Down Syndrome who might not live long. Caroline takes the baby to the home, but when she gets there, she realizes she cannot leave the child in such a wretched place and makes a split-second decision to keep her as her own. The author skillfully goes back and forth between the doctor's family, David and Norah Henry (and their son, Paul) and Caroline's life with the girl, Phoebe. I was intrigued. Somewhere, around page 175, I started not liking the book so much. What had been a taut, interesting story, started taking little side trips that I felt tarnished the characters and didn't stay within what I thought the author had set up. But I didn't want to dislike the book for this reason, because I don't expect the author to go where I might go or where I might have liked to see her go. Still, the things that were going on kept nagging at me and making me uneasy in a way that I don't think were intended to make me uneasy. I began to care less and less about the characters, but stayed with the book because it was interesting to see where it went and I had already invested so much time in reading it. There were too many long descriptions of things that didn't matter to me, and no matter how hard I tried, I didn't get to know the characters in the way I thought I should. I am stuck in the middle. In the end, I didn't really care for it all too much, but cannot say that others would not. I give the writer kudos for being so skilled with the English language. I didn't really care about any of the characters very much in the end, if at all, and I think that's what really soured me on this book. This is a hard one for me to judge. If you're at all interested, read it for yourself and see what you think.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    **SPOILER FREE REVIEW** Reading this book was like an up-hill battle for me. I have looked forward to reading it for so long and was expecting great things based on all the praise-worthy reviews on the book jacket. Boy was i disappointed! The plot and synopsis of the story had such excellent promise but along the way the author dropped the ball. It was very difficult to relate or sympathize with Norah Henry, even though she is the one wronged by her husband's rash (but not unfounded) decision to **SPOILER FREE REVIEW** Reading this book was like an up-hill battle for me. I have looked forward to reading it for so long and was expecting great things based on all the praise-worthy reviews on the book jacket. Boy was i disappointed! The plot and synopsis of the story had such excellent promise but along the way the author dropped the ball. It was very difficult to relate or sympathize with Norah Henry, even though she is the one wronged by her husband's rash (but not unfounded) decision to lie about the "supposed" death of their mentally defected daughter while keeping her healthy twin brother. Norah's self destructive ways and at times selfish childishness did nothing but annoy me and drive me farther away from her pain. What the author did really well was humanizing Dr. David Henry because reading the back of the novel i thought he was a monster. He was the only character i actually felt was not overly contrived. Phoebe "the memory keeper’s daughter" did not have a true voice in the whole novel and that was a poor choice by the author. The major climax and confrontation i was hoping would happen between members of the family never occurred; instead the author decided do something that was shocking but totally unnecessary to the digression of the conflict. So why did i bother giving it 2 stars? Because the one question i wanted answered -- what would possess a man to do such a horrible thing as to not only give away his newborn daughter but then lie about her death? -- was convincingly answered and somewhat understandable. Also the book was beautifully written, and i appreciate any book that can evoke emotion based on simple sentence construction. So, i will look for other books by Kim Edwards -- at the library not the bookstore, for now.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Dark Trees in the Heart The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a story about a secret--a terrible, life-altering secret running central to the story and in the lives of the characters. In spite of spanning only twenty-five years, it has an epic feel. A lot happens. We first meet Norah and David Henry on the stormy night she gives birth to twins. The boy, Paul, is born healthy. The second, an unexpected daughter, is born with Down's Syndrome. While his wife lay unconscious, David, a doctor who presides o Dark Trees in the Heart The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a story about a secret--a terrible, life-altering secret running central to the story and in the lives of the characters. In spite of spanning only twenty-five years, it has an epic feel. A lot happens. We first meet Norah and David Henry on the stormy night she gives birth to twins. The boy, Paul, is born healthy. The second, an unexpected daughter, is born with Down's Syndrome. While his wife lay unconscious, David, a doctor who presides over the deliveries because their doctor is unable to get to them due to the snowstorm, makes the decision to tell his wife the second child died. Trying to spare his wife the pain and suffering of having a child who, in his mind would surely die an early death, hands the baby to his nurse, Caroline Gill. He instructs her to take the child to an institution. Caroline finds she cannot leave the baby in this place, moves away and raises "Phoebe" on her own. This sets the stage for the terrible secret David must live with and the consequences it has on his family. It's called The Memory Keeper's Daughter because David takes up photography and becomes obsessed with the process. Diving into his hobby, which ultimately brings notoriety to him, he is able to take his mind off his secret, and yet at the same time, focus on the life his lost daughter leads away from him. Photography/snapshots/captured moments are the metaphor for this family and this beautifully written story. There is tremendous detail and one can feel the author using a variety of lenses to provide both wide-angle and tight, intimate views of each scene. Although at times I felt it to be a bit repetitive and wished it were shorter by 50-100 pages, I enjoyed the writing so much, along with the emotion it drew from me, that it didn't matter. I kept turning pages waiting to see how it would all play out. I wasn't disappointed. This book made me ask the question . . . "what if?" It also illustrated David's view of the world and Paul's discovery, that "each person was an isolated universe. Dark trees in the heart, a fistful of bones." Very well done.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alycia

    Books like this make me mad. I thought this story was very upper-middle class white suburbia. I don't know how to explain it any better, but I thought that there were these tiny sorrows within the story that were turned into gigantic dramas (so I guess it reflects the overall narrative in that sense), but I just didn't give a damn. There were 2 characters I could relate to, and 3/4 of the book was spent on characters that I felt were wasting away in the "perfect" suburbia of the 60's. Ugh. There Books like this make me mad. I thought this story was very upper-middle class white suburbia. I don't know how to explain it any better, but I thought that there were these tiny sorrows within the story that were turned into gigantic dramas (so I guess it reflects the overall narrative in that sense), but I just didn't give a damn. There were 2 characters I could relate to, and 3/4 of the book was spent on characters that I felt were wasting away in the "perfect" suburbia of the 60's. Ugh. There were heavy handed references to women's rights, etc. etc. And a side note; I finished this book on the train and thus read a bit of an interview that was at the back of my copy. Kim Edwards' book titles: The Memory Keeper's Daughter, The Dream Master, The Secrets of a Fire King. If these titles don't irritate you like they irritate me, then you might read her work. If you find these annoying like I do, read no further. And finally, I think this review is disgruntled merely because I am sad that I wasted time reading this instead of something worthwhile. I want my reading time back. Ah well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The Memory Keeper's Daughter crept up on me in a way I never expected. After reading many conflicting reviews I assumed I would either DNF this book at worst or slap 3 stars on it at best. In 1964, Dr. David Henry delivers his own twins. His son is perfectly healthy. His daughter is born with Down's Syndrome. Remembering his own sickly sister who died young, and the unending sorrow it caused for his mother, he is determined to protect his wife from the same heartache. He asks his nurse to take th The Memory Keeper's Daughter crept up on me in a way I never expected. After reading many conflicting reviews I assumed I would either DNF this book at worst or slap 3 stars on it at best. In 1964, Dr. David Henry delivers his own twins. His son is perfectly healthy. His daughter is born with Down's Syndrome. Remembering his own sickly sister who died young, and the unending sorrow it caused for his mother, he is determined to protect his wife from the same heartache. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution, but Caroline, the nurse, chooses to disappear into another city to raise the child herself. The story unfolds over 25 years - two families, unknowingly bound by the fateful decision made long ago. Let me start off by saying, this book is not for the faint of heart. It is not a happy story. Dr. Henry and his wife Norah live a life teeming with grief; a heavy secret, unbeknownst to Norah, settles between them and grows ever larger as the years go by. It's a story I might not have understood a few years ago. I've always been troubled by characters that keep secrets or avoid having important conversations, usually thinking it was bad plot device. But I've recently experienced things in my own family that have opened my eyes to certain behaviors. I think this was something that happened a lot in the 60 and 70s. For whatever reason, families tended to brush things under the rug and keep skeletons in the closet. One of my favourite things about this book, apart from the writing which I found deeply engrossing, was the passage of time. This book takes place over 25 years and I was never once confused about what year it was or how old the twins were at any given time. Kim Edwards' storytelling is seamless; one chapter melting perfectly into the next, even if they were five or ten years apart. This story won't be for everyone, but it's one I won't forget anytime soon.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tung

    The book begins in 1964. A doctor delivers his own wife’s son, and to his own surprise, their son’s twin sister as well. From her physical features, the doctor recognizes the child has Down’s Syndrome and to protect his wife from the grief of having a child die early (common for Down’s children back then) since he and his own family had to deal with the death of his sister when she was young, the doctor hands the child over to his trusted nurse and instructs her to take the child to an instituti The book begins in 1964. A doctor delivers his own wife’s son, and to his own surprise, their son’s twin sister as well. From her physical features, the doctor recognizes the child has Down’s Syndrome and to protect his wife from the grief of having a child die early (common for Down’s children back then) since he and his own family had to deal with the death of his sister when she was young, the doctor hands the child over to his trusted nurse and instructs her to take the child to an institution nearby. The doctor then lies to his wife and tells her their daughter died at childbirth. Instead of delivering the child to the institution, however, the nurse instead runs off with the child to raise it as her own. The rest of the book’s plot hinges on these two fateful decisions: the doctor’s choice to give up his daughter and lie to his wife, and the nurse’s decision to raise the girl as normally as possible. Note to self: if a book’s author is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, put the book down and walk away. This book is as cliché as they come – not just in the plot and the characterizations, but also in the prose. The plot sets itself up for ongoing tension between the characters due to their past decisions, and then allows all of the characters to redeem themselves at the end. The characters are stereotypes: the noble doctor struggling with a past decision motivated by his past grief; the unsatisfied grieving mother who finds solace in other ways; the noble mother who raises a disabled child to prove that everyone deserves equality. It’s like the Iowa Writer’s Workshop deliberately teaches its students to dream up plots worthy of an Oprah’s Book Club Selection. My biggest grievance is that Edwards overwrites every scene. We understand that the characters all have made decisions they regret, and that their pasts inform their present and future actions. We actually don’t need the narrative to spell that out for us in EVERY SINGLE SCENE. We also understand symbolism: early on, there is a scene where the doctor’s wife destroys a wasp nest to prove to herself that she is capable and able to handle things herself without having the doctor protect her and control her – and yet the author has to point that out to the reader, that the wife felt capable and felt like she didn’t need to be protected any longer. Apparently, Iowa doesn’t teach Subtlety as a course offering. Pass on this, unless you have no sense of discernment and like trite stories.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    A beautiful and moving story about a secret kept for 25 years and the effects on the people involved. I really enjoyed this one. I knew the secret world come out eventually, I just had that feeling that it would, but I love how the writer moved each of the characters through the story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Although the premise was extremely interesting, and there were true moments of brilliance in her characterizations, descriptions, and interactions, this book, more than anything, left me incredibly angry at the author. [Contains spoilers!:] Her characters are very deep, but only in one dimension. Her two stories are so clearly divided between good and evil, it's unrealistic. The last 50 pages or so are so filled with action that it made me wonder if she got to a certain point and her editor told Although the premise was extremely interesting, and there were true moments of brilliance in her characterizations, descriptions, and interactions, this book, more than anything, left me incredibly angry at the author. [Contains spoilers!:] Her characters are very deep, but only in one dimension. Her two stories are so clearly divided between good and evil, it's unrealistic. The last 50 pages or so are so filled with action that it made me wonder if she got to a certain point and her editor told her she had to finish within a certain number of pages or time. At that same time, those pages are suddenly filled with inconsistencies (David clearly states he burnt all the letters, but somehow we're supposed to believe that he somehow missed some, b/c Paul and Norah find them later -- David was too meticulous for that), surprising coincidences (Caroline just happens to show up -- for NO apparent reason -- just as Norah is "discovering" about David chronicled little girl's lives), and events with no motivation (why did Caroline suddenly show up -- saying "oh I'm glad I caught you" (my words, not verbatim) when she finds out that Norah's just about to move -- it could have been tied to David's death, to Phoebe moving out or getting married, but instead we're given absolutely NO motivation). Not to mention that we're supposed to believe David died in his 50s from running. Running??? We were never given any reason to believe he had any medical problems, and if anything, the stress in his life had dissipated! Add on the fact that she brings up the same metaphor over and over again (get rid of that damn wall, already, we know it's there! You don't have to point it out!), it was all rather frustrating. The only saving grace was that so many members of my book club felt the same exact way.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    This book would have been better if they would have cut out all of the descriptions that were used. Too much "The wind is blowing, it was cold, etc". I wanted the author to get to the point already. Other than that a very sad story about the love between a husband and wife and the secrets that are kept between them. Although I enjoyed the book it was just ok because of all the extra that was there.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    3.5 Stars A well-written and very emotional read. It took me a little longer than usual to get into the book. I did find it could be overly detailed at times that weren't especially important to the story. I would find myself easily distracted by other things going on around me. I am usually able to tune everything out when I am into a really good book. I will say that this wasn't the case very often but it was something I noticed. There was a lot of emotion along with many shocking and dramatic 3.5 Stars A well-written and very emotional read. It took me a little longer than usual to get into the book. I did find it could be overly detailed at times that weren't especially important to the story. I would find myself easily distracted by other things going on around me. I am usually able to tune everything out when I am into a really good book. I will say that this wasn't the case very often but it was something I noticed. There was a lot of emotion along with many shocking and dramatic events. Heartbreaking and dealt with many issues such as secrets, acceptance, and family dynamics. In the end I found it to be a thought provoking good read that would likely have been even better if it had been shorter and/or more condensed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kei

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Beautiful writing, horrible story telling - I bought this book based on the back cover snapshot. No one recommended it to me, so I have no one to blame. My problem with this book is, the author had SO MUCH in the palm of her hand that she could have done with this story. But she was more interested in being poetic and symbolic - which is only good if it contributes to great storytelling. I was expecting to love the wife and feel emotionally connected to her throughout the book since she has been Beautiful writing, horrible story telling - I bought this book based on the back cover snapshot. No one recommended it to me, so I have no one to blame. My problem with this book is, the author had SO MUCH in the palm of her hand that she could have done with this story. But she was more interested in being poetic and symbolic - which is only good if it contributes to great storytelling. I was expecting to love the wife and feel emotionally connected to her throughout the book since she has been deceived, grieving for a dead daughter that did not really die. But instead, she turns out to be a self-centered, promiscuous whore which makes no sense to me whatsoever. There was nothing "driving" her to adultery. The poor excuse of feeling alienated or growing apart emotionally from her husband just doesn't cut it for me. The son was just not interesting to me. He was also too weak, again with no strong reason or explanation. Seriously, does a father working too many hours really cause his son to end up that disconnected? And his wife to end up a self-righteous adulterer? Throughout the book, neither the wife nor the son has any idea that their daughter/sister is still alive and being raised by the father's former nurse so this gives them no real excuse to behave the way they did... Also, the author tries to express that the father/husband spends too much time working and not with the family, YET they go on vacation TOGETHER, and as soon as he is out of sight, the wife strips and goes inside the neighbor's bungalow to get her freak on...WHY? There is no "why."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Although I really liked this book, I'm not sure I would openly recommend it to people for fear of them coming back and saying, "You liked THAT?" So there, I warned you, and if you decide to read it, you can't blame me! The story starts in 1964 with a husband, who is a doctor, delivering his own wife's baby late on a snowy night at his clinic, because they couldn't make it to the hospital in the snow storm. After their son is born, his wife gives birth to an unexpected twin- a daughter with Down's Although I really liked this book, I'm not sure I would openly recommend it to people for fear of them coming back and saying, "You liked THAT?" So there, I warned you, and if you decide to read it, you can't blame me! The story starts in 1964 with a husband, who is a doctor, delivering his own wife's baby late on a snowy night at his clinic, because they couldn't make it to the hospital in the snow storm. After their son is born, his wife gives birth to an unexpected twin- a daughter with Down's syndrome. The husband, in an attempt to spare his wife grief, tells the nurse to take the baby away to an institution. He means to tell his wife what he has done, but instead tells her the second baby died. And it goes from there. It is a very interesting and thought provoking book about the effects of a "big bad" secret in a family's life. Of not being allowed to grieve in an open and healthy manner, and this leading to grieving secretly and destructively. Of trying to escape grief leading to sorrow, while facing challenges leading to joy. And of how society's view of grief, of what is socially acceptable, and of Down's syndrome has shifted over the decades. The author wove many levels of detail and imagery into the book, which was a joy to read. I felt she also had an incredible depth of understanding of the emotions people feel in different experiences and times of their life, and what those emotions can motivate them to do. In particular, I really enjoyed how right on her descriptions were of a young grieving mother in a society that does not allow her to fully grieve. Kim Edwards had such tremendous compassion for the characters, that even when I didn't like what they were doing, I felt I understood why they were doing it and what they were trying to accomplish, and so I had to feel some compassion for them as well. That was what I enjoyed about this book. That and the view of how much the culture shifted from 1964 to the late 80's. I didn't enjoy that there is immorality in this book, although she stops short of descriptive sex, for which I am grateful. She does show that the immorality does not bring happiness. Most of all I didn't enjoy watching the family fall apart because they failed to communicate. I found parts of it rather depressing. At times I wanted to put down the book and run and hug my children and husband with tears of joy for the wonderful and happy family that I have. I was disappointed that the author seemed to portray life as having no real hope for a true, deep, meaningful, and loving relationship where communication and honesty exist. I would have given it 5 stars if it hadn't been so depressing. I am grateful that at least it ended with a sense of peace and hope for the future. Although I have mixed feelings about the book, I fully admire the talent of the author. The story was depressing, but the author's depth and talent was a joy to read. That is why I gave it four stars, and that is why I am glad to have read this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nola Redd

    Some moments in our lives are crossroads, moments where the course of our lives is shaped. Sometimes the deviation is minor, and sometimes it is life-altering. Such are the forces that form the first chapter of Kim Edwards’ novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. A dreadful snowstorm forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his first child, which to his surprise turns out to be twins. The first is a perfect son, ideal in all ways. But the second child has Down’s syndrome. In a moment that changed and def Some moments in our lives are crossroads, moments where the course of our lives is shaped. Sometimes the deviation is minor, and sometimes it is life-altering. Such are the forces that form the first chapter of Kim Edwards’ novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. A dreadful snowstorm forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his first child, which to his surprise turns out to be twins. The first is a perfect son, ideal in all ways. But the second child has Down’s syndrome. In a moment that changed and defined the life of all five people in the room – the twins, the parents, and the nurse – Dr. Henry requests that his nurse take the girl to a home for the mentally retarded. Instead, she takes the child away and raises her as her own. The mother is told only that her daughter was stillborn. Edwards traces the lives of the two families over the next twenty-five years. Dr. Henry sought to shelter his wife and son from grief, but his deep, dark secret winds up alienating him from his family, and the pain he caused may well exceed what they would have otherwise have suffered. His monumentous deception creates a wall upon which other lies are built. As he draws away from his wife, she draws away from him. Their deceptions impact their son, who begins erecting his own walls. Part of David’s withdrawl is accentuated by the gift of a camera that enables him to remove himself from his family’s life. Even when he is present for events and activities, he isolates himself behind the lens. Only years later does he come to realize that much of his life was spent in observation rather than active participation. Meanwhile, as Caroline raises the unwanted child, her perspective completely changes. Instead of waiting to be loved, she learns to find fulfillment in loving. After several years, she recognizes that she was not a passive victim but an active accomplice in the deception. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a tale of deception and treachery, but it is also a story of walls and barriers. Over and over again, David had the opportunity and even the desire to confess and come clean, and yet he never does. Instead, he remains silent, and his silence is frequently misinterpreted, driving another wedge between himself and those he loves. Although few of us deceive to such magnitude, the story manages to illustrate the price of deception of all sizes. Edwards has managed to weave a convincing story of tragedy, fully drawing the reader into her tale.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I highly enjoyed this novel. Reading some of the more negative reviews, I would have to disagree about the plot needing to be more exciting or the lack of depth in the characters. I believe that was the point of the novel entirely, we cannot label the doctor who gave away his child as "bad" because his troubled past was revealed and he was genuinely trying to do good, and it was clearly unfolding throughout the progression of the story that he began to regret his once-confident choice, but felt I highly enjoyed this novel. Reading some of the more negative reviews, I would have to disagree about the plot needing to be more exciting or the lack of depth in the characters. I believe that was the point of the novel entirely, we cannot label the doctor who gave away his child as "bad" because his troubled past was revealed and he was genuinely trying to do good, and it was clearly unfolding throughout the progression of the story that he began to regret his once-confident choice, but felt as though he had to remain stable and confident with his choices, which ended up making him a distant husband and individual. We cannot label his wife, Norah, as some sort of "pissy alcaholic", as she had been lied to about her childs death, then denied the right to grieve about it, followed by suddenly having a very distant husband. I believe some reading in between the lines was necessary to realize that these characters were going through emotional changes that were very realistic to real life and how the characters hardly even knew themselves, let alone were able to have very distinct and obvious personalities for the reader to fall in love with. Their growth and change over time was incredibly interesting to read about. The plot progressed slowly but in a satisfactory manner. There was constant stress and debate throughout the book from the doctor (David)'s side about whether or not he should reveal the truth to his wife, it was quite literally taking years off of his life. The novel would have appeared unrealistic if the characters somehow stumbled upon the downs syndrome baby on their own. The entire novel was believable, it had no "cheesy" or "eye-roll" moments like many chick-lit/adult fiction books often do. I liked this book far more than I intended to!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This should be a great book for discussion at book club. Thought provoking and entertaining.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Navaneeta

    It's a depressing book. A book in which although there is much music and songs, the sound that remains with you at the end is of water dripping from the faucet. It irritated me. Why would all the different houses have leaky faucets? And it was not till the end of the book when David finally repairs the faucet in Norah's house that I realize its significance. There is no explaining the characters, but there's no condemning them either. They did what they had to. Don't we all? As Phoebe says,"life It's a depressing book. A book in which although there is much music and songs, the sound that remains with you at the end is of water dripping from the faucet. It irritated me. Why would all the different houses have leaky faucets? And it was not till the end of the book when David finally repairs the faucet in Norah's house that I realize its significance. There is no explaining the characters, but there's no condemning them either. They did what they had to. Don't we all? As Phoebe says,"life's unfair"; and it is unfair that one has to choose between two wrongs, and that the consequence should haunt and hound so many lives. But then this is life! The subject matter of the book is heart-rending. The characters have all been portrayed well. For a first novel, the author has definitely done well. But the narrative style leaves much to desire. David is THE memory keeper so it is only expected that we would get glimpses into his past, but the author overdoes it at times. And the middle of the book is repetitive with the same descriptions of Norah's anguish and David's, again, memory. I don't have problems with books where 'nothing' happens, but I do have a thing against books where the actions are limited to the beginning and the end. And this book definitely does that. In all, it was a good one time read. A good 3.5.

  25. 5 out of 5

    JBradford

    Wasn’t it just last night that I said I did not give out five stars easily? I have to do it for this book; yes, run out and read it as fast as you can, for this novel will give you whole new insights into the mysteries of life and love and grief. Most of the books I waste my time reading are plot-filled page-turners, in which the author has a tremendous story that pours out through the pages, and you get just a little comprehension of what makes the characters tick as they progress through the a Wasn’t it just last night that I said I did not give out five stars easily? I have to do it for this book; yes, run out and read it as fast as you can, for this novel will give you whole new insights into the mysteries of life and love and grief. Most of the books I waste my time reading are plot-filled page-turners, in which the author has a tremendous story that pours out through the pages, and you get just a little comprehension of what makes the characters tick as they progress through the action, but in the end how well do we really know Mary Denunzio or Stephanie Plum or even Jack Ryan? Read this novel, however, and you really, really get to know Dr. David Henry McAllister; his wife, Nora; his son, Paul; his nurse, Caroline Gill – you come to know them because the book is told in the third person from their respective points of view, with the linear plot unfolding as you see the action sequentially through their biased eyes. There is very little real action in this novel, however, although it springs from a single impossible act. Taking his pregnant wife to the hospital to give birth, David finds that he cannot get to the hospital because of the raging snowstorm, so he takes her to his own little clinic where he and his nurse, who is secretly in love with him, deliver the baby, a perfectly healthy boy, and then find that there is a twin sister, who has unmistakable symptoms of Down’s Syndrome. Thinking to protect his beloved wife from the problems of having to live with this, he tells his nurse to take the baby girl to an institution, which was actually quite the common thing in those days, and he tells his wife that their baby daughter died at childbirth. From that point on, we simply see these people living their lives, irretrievably bound together by a secret that only a few of them know. Caroline instead takes the baby to another city and raises her as her own child, while Norah and Paul’s lives become poisoned by thinking about the daughter and sister they thought was lost, and David wanders into a hell of his own making as the members of his family become alienated, while at the same time we learn more about his past and come to an understanding of what drove him to do this. Kim Edwards is a marvelous story-teller. Time after time, as I read her biting description of what it is like to love and to lose that love, I said: “That’s my life she is writing.” She understands fully how we all get caught up in our own imaginings so that we cannot be open to the people we love, even when we see that very condition driving them away. One of her messages, surely, is that change is always with us, and we have to live with that change and understand it, even through our human nature forces us to try to contain it and to keep things the way they used to be. Nora gives David a camera as a gift, and he gradually becomes a famous photographer, but the results of his overwhelming concentration on his new hobby only further forces his family apart, while they all keep looking back to the early feelings and memories of their relationships and try to comprehend what has happened to make them drift apart. We see the same patterns repeating over and over, not only in David and Norah’s lives but also with Caroline and her husband, then with Paul and his lover. One of the things that Kim Edwards is astonishingly good at is compressing the story. There is sex in these peoples’ lives, but it all takes place off stage, between chapters or between paragraphs, because it is not important in this story -- in vivid contrast to the novel I wrote about last night, for which sex was the very basis of the book. Similarly, one of the main characters dies offstage, between chapters, as if the passing is merely a minor incident, only faintly related to the plot. I cried three times reading this book, so filled with emotion that at one point I had to put it down and go read something else. Today, however, I had to take my granddaughter to the dentist and then to her swimming class, and the book conveniently was rediscovered under a pile of papers while I was cleaning up my office last night, so it was ready to hand when I had time to spend on it … with the inevitable result that I again got all caught up in the story and came home from a social event this evening and had to sit down and finish it. Definitely five stars; definitely a book to go back and read again some time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shayantani Das

    I guess the book was supposed to be poignant and touching, something at which it failed miserably. Although, it did accomplish the feat of being an extremely annoying book. I do not have a thing against flawed characters, but there is a difference between flawed and real. Just adding grey shades to characters does not make them realistic. There are so many discrepancies (Norah cheating, her reaction to the revelation, David’s actions) in their behavior and Caroline remains the only well fleshed I guess the book was supposed to be poignant and touching, something at which it failed miserably. Although, it did accomplish the feat of being an extremely annoying book. I do not have a thing against flawed characters, but there is a difference between flawed and real. Just adding grey shades to characters does not make them realistic. There are so many discrepancies (Norah cheating, her reaction to the revelation, David’s actions) in their behavior and Caroline remains the only well fleshed out character. Their motivations, their actions remain a mystery not only to each other but the readers too. At the end of the day, there was just too many flaws, and loses ends, too detailed description of dust motes while feelings remain unexplored, it was supposed to move me but it just left me with an urge to hurl the book across the room. An incredibly frustrating book! 2 stars

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Although I read this book avidly, I was mostly disappointed in it. It really needed a Good editor! THe author does not seem to know what the book is about. I could have enjoyed the books theme of how secrets destroy relationships and how everyone has secrets, but it had to branch out and become a women's lib story and a rights of the disabled story - I was waiting for the cancer victims story and surprised it didn't surface. This author does not have the experience or excellence to tackle all th Although I read this book avidly, I was mostly disappointed in it. It really needed a Good editor! THe author does not seem to know what the book is about. I could have enjoyed the books theme of how secrets destroy relationships and how everyone has secrets, but it had to branch out and become a women's lib story and a rights of the disabled story - I was waiting for the cancer victims story and surprised it didn't surface. This author does not have the experience or excellence to tackle all those topics well. The book begins with the birth of twins. THe father is an MD and a snowstorm puts him in a situation of delivering his own children. One child is fine, the other he diagnoses immediately as having Downs (I think it harder to diagnose than was presented). He immediately decides to get rid of the Down's child by telling the nurse to take it to an insitution. His rationale is that he is protecting his wife who is a perfectionist. I was touched by the theme of giving away the baby and keeping it secret - if he had just stayed with this theme. THere were a number of the scenes about loss that were well done. I felt that the author must have first hand knowledge of Down's children and also of loss. I also liked the portrayal of the sister sister bond - so different but still so in sync. However, there were so many extraneous and unsupportable diversions and unnecessary, irritating, distracting characters with no purpose. There is also much that verges on hokey - the main character it turns out "lost" his last name in a mix up while applying for college. Overall, skip this book. I am sure there are better stories of loss and of Down syndrome.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I was highly disappointed in this book. When I picked it up, it had great potential. A doctor (David) delivers his own child in a snowstorm only to discover that his wife (Norah) had twins. Hooray, right? Nope...the boy was born as healthy as all new parents hope their children to be. The girl, however, was born with Down's Syndrome. Thinking he was making the best choice for his family, he asks his nurse to take the baby to an institution. The nurse agrees, but then keeps the child to raise on I was highly disappointed in this book. When I picked it up, it had great potential. A doctor (David) delivers his own child in a snowstorm only to discover that his wife (Norah) had twins. Hooray, right? Nope...the boy was born as healthy as all new parents hope their children to be. The girl, however, was born with Down's Syndrome. Thinking he was making the best choice for his family, he asks his nurse to take the baby to an institution. The nurse agrees, but then keeps the child to raise on her own. Great! Dr. and the Mrs. have their son, the nurse has a daughter (which she always wanted) and no scary institution for the poor baby. Wrong! David told his wife the child died, which Norah can never get over. Instead, she turns into a bad cliche...a cheat with a liquor problem. David tries to do his best, but the guilt of his secret keeps getting in the way. Oh, and their son is such an angst-ridden (and annoying) teen that he'd put these modern-day kids to shame! What happens to the nurse? Why, she lives (almost) happily-ever-after. Her daughter does well, living a life her true father never thought possible. The parts with Caroline and Phoebe (nurse and daughter respectively) are the most enjoyable, because they feel the least contrived. It all ends up in a bed of roses, of course, because this book is a giant cliche.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jodie

    I read this book when I was a member of a reading book group. I thought I was going to like it because of the "twins/children" theme. I really didn't enjoy it at all! I kept thinking something was going to happen & it never seemed to happen. Around the very end of the book, it finally began to pick up pace a little, but by then I was just ready for it to be over, that I really didn't care what the outcome was. I felt bad for Norah because David kept such a HUGE secret from her, but I also fel I read this book when I was a member of a reading book group. I thought I was going to like it because of the "twins/children" theme. I really didn't enjoy it at all! I kept thinking something was going to happen & it never seemed to happen. Around the very end of the book, it finally began to pick up pace a little, but by then I was just ready for it to be over, that I really didn't care what the outcome was. I felt bad for Norah because David kept such a HUGE secret from her, but I also felt like Norah needed to get over herself & let David in to comfort her. I felt bad for Caroline because it shouldn't have been her responsibility to give the baby away (although I was proud of her for keeping the baby). I felt bad for the son because he never got to know his sister & he wasn't treated very well by his parents. I didn't like David's decision but felt sorry for him at the end. There were just too many secrets, too many times when things should have been spoken & weren't. And, I can't believe that something like this has happened in America's history. It's so awful to think that this part of the story is true.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I enjoyed this story, but did not feel as connected to the characters as much as I thought I should have, especially given the storyline, which I think also should have grabbed me more. A family is forever changed at the birth of twins, after a father delivers them on a blistery cold and wintery night. The choice he makes at the birth has many many ramifications for everyone involved. The author did a fantastic job of describing the nuances of Down Syndrome, the sweet personality and the special I enjoyed this story, but did not feel as connected to the characters as much as I thought I should have, especially given the storyline, which I think also should have grabbed me more. A family is forever changed at the birth of twins, after a father delivers them on a blistery cold and wintery night. The choice he makes at the birth has many many ramifications for everyone involved. The author did a fantastic job of describing the nuances of Down Syndrome, the sweet personality and the special characteristics, I especially enjoyed this aspect of the story. An enjoyable read, but one I wished for a stronger connection with.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In order to read or download eBook, you need to create FREE account.
eBook available in PDF, ePub, MOBI and Kindle versions



Loading...