Review: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Remember that Library Book Sale I attended back in April?  Well, I selected the first book to read from that huge pile I bought.  The lucky book chosen was   The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.

Memory Keepers Daughter

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
by Kim Edwards

Norah, the young wife of Dr. David Henry, is pregnant and about ready to deliver her first child, but due to a winter blizzard she is unable to reach the hospital in time, so instead her husband David decides to drive her to his clinic where he will be met by Dr. Bently and Nurse Caroline to deliver the baby.  Upon arrival David finds only Caroline has arrived safely at the clinic which means David has to deliver the baby without Dr. Bentley’s help.  All goes well and Norah delivers a healthy baby boy!  Then a few minutes later another baby is delivered.  This time it’s a little girl.  The delivery of this little girl is unknown to Norah who was given more anesthetic before the second baby’s arrival.  And it is this baby girl who is the focus of, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.

After seeing his little girl has Down Syndrome, Dr. David Henry releases her to Caroline and tells his wife that their little girl, Phoebe, died during childbirth.  This one lie changes the life of all those present in that clinic delivery room.  Norah grieves for her child, and feels separated from her husband as he secretly keeps the truth hidden.  Their son, Paul, feels isolated by the tension that is between his parents.  Caroline moves away and raises Phoebe; her life is changed by the love she feels for Phoebe, but she is also haunted by the possibility of losing Phoebe to her birth parents.  Then there is Dr. David Henry, the man who put into motion the consequences of his action.  He becomes burdened with the truth which, as time goes by, slowly takes hold of his life and he becomes a shadow of the man he use to be.  Unwilling to confess this lie to Norah, he ultimately destroys the very family he was trying so desperately to save and instead lives behind the lens of a camera – forever capturing life’s moments, but never allowing himself to be a part of them.

Author Kim Edwards created a wonderful story full of passionate characters that drew you into their world.

Author Kim Edwards created a wonderful story full of passionate characters that drew you into their world.

Wow, I wrote a long summary of the book!  The Memory Keeper’s Daughter contains so much story content that it is hard to rollup into one summarized paragraph.  The book takes you through the lives of multiple characters: Dr Henry, Norah, Paul, Caroline, and Phoebe.  Through the span of years, from 1964 to 1989, we read about the important aspects of each person’s life.  Lots of critical moments where you think the author will have David confess his crime, but never quite getting there.  Moments in the book where the reader wonders if this is the year Norah will discover the truth about Phoebe.  Author Kim Edwards did such great job in creating anticipation throughout the story and this expectancy will keep you reading chapter after chapter.

The story surround David and Phoebe is pretty fast paced.  Years go by quickly and the reader gets to see the consequences of David’s decision and how it affects all those touched by that one choice he made.  Many times as I read the story, I just wanted David to confess all and begin to repair the relationships his lie tore apart.  This shows that The Memory Keeper’s Daughter will touch your emotions and draw you into the story.

You would think reading and following the storylines of multiple characters from two separate families would be a little confusing, but it was actually pretty easy.  The book separates each storyline in sections, by year and then by family.  By doing it this way, the reader is able to follow the story smoothly from one family to another.   Most of the book is set up this way since both families – David’s and Caroline’s – never really mingle with one another.

I really enjoyed reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.  It was a story I was drawn into and I felt for all the people involved in the story.  It kept me reading because I was anxious to see how and when David’s secret would be discovered and by whom.  Even the ending was satisfying and realistic.

So who would enjoy reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter?  Anyone who loves a good well rounded story will like this book, or those who love general fiction about people they can relate too in circumstances that are believable yet uncommon would take pleasure in reading Kim Edward’s book.  Due to a few adult situations mentioned, although not described, in the story I would suggest the reader be 18 years or older.  Since there are questions for discussion at the end of the book, and an interview with the author, this book would be perfect for those readers who are part of a book club or circle.

Movie Banner…and upon writing this review, I discovered there was a Lifetime Movie made in 2008 based on the book (see clip below).  Although I haven’t watched the movie, I viewed the clips provided and after seeing the clips I am inclined to believe the movie veers a little from the book’s story.  Some of the clips show David taking pictures of Phoebe although that is never mentioned in the book, but I can’t say how much is different since I’ve never seen the movie.   I don’t know when I’ll see the movie, however, it’s one I definitely want to watch some day.

For more information about the movie, you can visit IMDb’s website.

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