Monday, December 31, 2007

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

I read this book for the "To Be Read Challenge" a little early, but I can always read another book to make up for it if I want to adhere to the challenge rules! I am sure that a lot of people are familiar with the premise of this book: in 1964, a doctor delivers his own twins, but gives one away without telling his wife when he discovers the baby has Down's Syndrome. The attending nurse is asked by the doctor to take the infant to a special home to be raised, but upon seeing the conditions of the facility, she decides to keep the baby and start a new life in another city. The doctor tells his wife that the baby died. And so the twins are raised apart--the boy with his father who closes himself off from everyone and his mother who never recovers from her grief and is constantly running away from it; and the girl with the nurse who fights for her right to an education and a fulfilling life. I loved the psychological aspect of the story, which is told without judgment. This allows you to see inside of each person, their motives and emotions, and just feel empathy for them. Like us, they all make bad choices, some worse than others, and they make their way through life trying to deal with them. The strongest impression (of many) that I was left with when I finished the book is that we cannot shield ourselves or others from pain, no matter how hard we try.
This is a great book for a book club because there is so much to discuss. So if you're looking for you next book, try this one! I also got a little more insight into the book reading an interview with Kim Edwards. She tells about what inspired the story and some background on society's attitudes towards Down's Syndrome children in the sixties.
Note: I would probably give this 4 1/2 stars rather than five, but I didn't make a graphic for that!


  1. An excellent book filled with heartfelt and heart stopping personal drama! LOVED IT!

  2. Your comments are so insightful. I am glad someone I know read it.