Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Next time, keep the kid

Title: The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Author: Kim Edwards

In The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Norah Henry goes into labor three weeks early and during a snowstorm. As a result, they are unable to make it to the hospital, and David Henry, an orthopedic surgeon, is left to do the delivery with the help of his nurse, Caroline.

At first surprised and then dismayed by the delivery of a second child, a girl with Down syndrome, David makes a rash decision he will regret the rest of his life. He hands the child off to the nurse with instructions to take her to a home, not an uncommon thing to have done in the 60s. Caroline, secretly in love with David, attempts to do so. However, she finds the home to be a horrible place and opts to raise the child herself. She quickly leaves town and creates a new life in Pittsburgh.

Instead of the truth, David tells Norah that she had a second, stillborn child. This lie wreaks havoc on their lives - creating a wall between them and complicating the relationship with their healthy firstborn son. Caroline sends pictures and letters to David as his daughter, Phoebe, grows but David cannot bring himself to tell his wife the truth and reunite their family.

A well-written novel, but one that I wouldn't necessarily recommend. I read to escape, and when a novel feels very real and the characters have dreary miserable lives - well, there just has to be something better out there to read.

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posted by Kate at 6:01 PM


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