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The Memory Keeper's Daughter Paperback – 26 Apr 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 273 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (26 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141030143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141030142
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Crafted with language so lovely you have to reread the passages just to be captivated all over again . . . this is simply a beautiful book (Jodi Picoult)

I loved this riveting story with its intricate characters and beautiful language (Sue Monk Kidd, author of the best-selling The Secret Life of Bees)

From the Publisher

Kim Edwards's stunning family drama articulates every parent's
silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up
without you? Compulsively readable and deeply moving, 'The Memory Keeper's
Daughter' is an astonishing tale of redemptive love that will touch the
hearts of readers everywhere.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
THE SNOW STARTED TO FALL SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE HER labor began. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Memory Keeper's Daughter starts in the 1960s. It is a stormy night and the doctor's wife has gone into labor. David (the doctor) is forced to deliver his wife's (Norah's) twin babies with only his practice nurse (Caroline) for assistance. The first baby, a boy, is delivered without issues but the baby girl has Down's Syndrome. David's immediate reaction is to protect his wife from what he perceives to be a tragedy, so he gives the baby to Caroline and asks her to take her to a home for the mentally ill. He tells his wife that the baby girl died at birth and that the body has been disposed of.

Caroline goes to follow the doctor's instructions but is unable to get to the home. Instead she makes a spontaneous decision to look after the baby herself, and leaves town. Over the years she raises the girl on her own, keeping in occasional contact with David. Norah remains unaware that her daughter survived the birth and has to deal with her own grief for the baby she lost. David suffers guilt and confusion about whether he made the right decision and his need to keep the secret creates a rift in his marriage to Norah.

I enjoyed reading this book. The central premise is so intriguing that I wanted to see how the story would pan out. The book follows each character in turn over the years as the two children grow up. It's a well written book and the characters held my attention and sympathy throughout. I was very curious to see how the story would be resolved. My main gripe was with the ending, which I felt was a bit lame. I wanted a greater sense of resolution than was delivered. However overall I still liked the book. Other reviewers have complained that it was slow moving and I suppose it is, but I didn't find this a problem when I was reading it.
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Format: Paperback
I rarely feel moved to pan a work of fiction, but this book has just wasted hours of my life. It may be a multi-million seller as it boasts on the cover but that simply shows how pulp paperbacks sell well. This is not a cheap paperback, it masquerades as a serious book with the quote on the front cover from Jodi Picoult, "Simply Beautiful". That quote is one word and one letter out. "Simple," would be more accurate.

The author, Kim Edwards, is an assistant professor of English at the university of Kentucky. She has won awards for her writing, yet the basic errors in this novel are school-girl level.

Firstly the omniscient third person narrative swings the point of view between characters with annoying capriciousness. There are lengthy passages of introspection for most characters but not all. Some shop keepers refrain from spewing their thoughts and feelings onto the page, thank goodness.

The two dimensional character are tedious, cliched and badly drawn. The two main female characters have startling green and blue eyes respectively. Yawning chasms between plot development events are filled with interminable self-pity, self indulgence and weak imagery. I found myself without any sympathy for anyone even the children, who's characters were so flimsily drawn the reader is positively discouraged from identifying with them. This signifies their lack of importance in the mind of the author.

The most appalling style problem in this book, and there are many from which to choose, is the 'telling not showing'. Any novice writer is taught from the first sentences not to fall into the trap of telling the story rather than showing it. In other words, a good writer doesn't write something like this,

"She'd always been good; that was her job.
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2 Comments 7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
It touches upon controversial issues and challenges certain conceptions. The development of some characters is quite interesting (the unknowing wife for example) however not all characters are engaging or credible. I grew tired of the somewhat naive and one sided statement of the book. It was quite predictable and it fails to really connect the reader to all of the individuals in the plot.
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Format: Paperback
What a dissapointment! I read the first page of this book and thought it would be a good read. The language was beautiful and the writer clearly has talent but all I wanted to know about was what happened to Phoebe. The chapters about her life were interesting but I would have liked to see more. Norah's life was so boring I didn't care about her, and nothing was resolved whilst David was alive, so what was the point of having them in the book? More could have been made of that side of the plot if David actually met his daughter and Norah found out whilst he was alive. Paul doesn't even get a voice until near the end of the book.
What a shame!
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By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 20 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
I am surprised that this book has received such mixed reviews.
Personally I really enjoyed it, but then it is a subject close to my heart, as my niece has Downs Syndrome.
Set in the 1960's it is quite an eye-opener how views have changed towards such disabilities since then. The fights of those parents for their children's rights are largely responsible for the opportunities available to such children today.

On a snowy winter's evening Nora Henry goes into labour. With the help of a nurse her doctor husband delivers her a healthy son, but there follows an unexpected twin sister who has Downs Syndrome. As was frequently the case at that time, the Downs child, Phoebe, is sent to a home to be cared for. The job of taking her there is entrusted to the nurse, Caroline, who takes one look at the place and decides to care for Phoebe herself.
Meanwhile David Henry makes his big mistake and informs his wife that their daughter was stillborn, setting in motion a chain of events that has repercussions for years to come.

Even though there are reasons in David's past that might explain his response to the birth, it is hard to feel great empathy for him after this event. However, his fascination for photography has interesting symbolism which is explained towards the end of the book.
Caroline and Phoebe made the more enjoyable reading for me, as they struggled to make a life away from Phoebe's home town.
Nora, the bereaved wife, was the least interesting and a rather frustrating character.
The other person in this situation was the brother, Paul, who always felt distant from his distracted parents and who compensated by putting his whole being into his music.

A fascinating book, with plenty of food for thought, though it could have done with being 100 pages shorter.
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