The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

One day I called my mom, just to chat.  We like to talk about books, naturally, so we got on the topic of what we’ve read lately.  As I started describing The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards to her, it sounded more and more depressing to my own ears.  It’s a sad book with a sort-of redeeming ending, but man, I did not sell my mom on this book.  I try to be straight up with her on books, warning her if I think she might not like it so she doesn’t waste her time, but also trying to convince her if I think it’s great and likely to be out of her comfort zone (hello, Brandon Sanderson novels).  I couldn’t sell her on this one.

I’m lazy, so I’m going to rip off the description of this book from Goodreads.  Don’t judge me too harshly.

“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.”

Notice how it says that this grief weighs heavily on Norah up there?  Yeah, so she turns into a cheating cheater-pants.  Sure, her husband is emotionally distant, but she could have attempted to TALK TO HIM.  I spent the entirety of this novel saying, “Somebody just start talking!  You’re all driving me nuts!!!”  Three exclamation points nuts, my friends.  That’s a lot of nuts.  I kept reading because I wanted to see how it ended and, thankfully, it wasn’t a terrible ending, just still so darn sad.

I liked Caroline, the nurse, and her experiences in raising Phoebe.  That’s about it.  If you’re in the mood for a sad book, go for it.

Do you like how I’m completely glossing over the fact that no reviewing has been done on RHE for quite
some time?  Isn’t that nice of me to save you the groveling and sniveling and begging for forgiveness?  It’s so unattractive anyway.


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One response to "The Memory Keeper’s Daughter". Comments are closed for this post.
  • Rachel Lucas says:

    I have seen that book EVERYWHERE. I’m glad you reviewed it. I am not in the mood for a sad book, so I think I’ll pass. What is it about books these days? It seems like being a cheating cheater pants, as you put it, is every author’s solution to dealing with any kind of emotion that is hard to deal with. Blech. (State of Wonder, by Anne Patchett, to name just one.) Was there an authors’ convention where the keynote speech was called, “The Importance of Turning your Main Character into an Immoral Loser”? Because I’ve been disappointed by a lot of books recently. If you’re in the mood for something light and clean, our book group is reading “Girl of the Limberlost” by Gene Stratton-Porter this month. It’s very sweet, and no one is horrible, especially not the protagonist.