Customer Review

61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought, 20 Sept. 2007
This review is from: The Memory Keeper's Daughter (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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