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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
Today’s review is about the novel “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards, her second book.
In a nutshell, the year is 1964 and a doctor, David, and his wife, Norah, are expecting a baby when she goes into labor during a Kentucky snowstorm. David gets Norah to his clinic, where Caroline, his nurse, shows up, and they deliver a healthy baby boy they name Paul. Unbeknownst to everyone, there is a twin. A girl with Down’s Syndrome-Phoebe. Now, during the labor & delivery Norah was drugged so she hardly remembers any of it, and what she does recall is vague and foggy.
When David discovered that Phoebe was handicapped, he handed her over to Caroline and instructed his nurse to take her to a home for mentally challenged kids, so she bundled up Phoebe & took off for the home.
When Norah awoke she asked after the twin, saying she could remember there being another, and David told her the girl baby died and was whisked off to the funeral home for burial immediately because he thought it was best.
The deception continues when, upon arriving at the home, Caroline decides that the care is unacceptable so she takes the baby to her apartment, quits her job, moves to another town and never looks back.
There ensues a novel following the next 25 years of lies and trickery which affects the birth family as well as Caroline, while Phoebe grows up to be a happy & healthy woman. Paul rebels, Norah drinks and feels something is missing from her life because she never saw Phoebe, David is wracked with guilt which drives him to be distant.
I’ll leave it there since I don’t want to give too much away. I found this book to be excellent to have on camping trips or in the trunk of the car in case of emergencies. It would make fantastic kindling or a flair starter. Not that I am all for burning books but this one is worthy of destruction. I was literally bored to tears and could not wait for it to be over.
Let me explain. I am not a person who enjoys pages of narrative without dialogue. I need characters that speak. Speak to a grocer, speak to their pet, speak to each other.
Have any of you seen the movie The New World with Colin Farrell? Do you recall the amount of time he spent wandering around in the weeds? I had to turn that movie off due to the fact that the longer I watched, the more I wanted to start frying bugs with a magnifying glass to amuse myself. This book was like that. Wandering around in the weeds, laying on the ground, staring at the ocean—everything but SPEAK.
There comes a point in the book when David finally confesses to a stranger all that he’s done. He then brings that female stranger home, who is about the same age as his son, and she moves in. What in the world??
I wanted to smack these characters upside their heads for their inability to communicate with each other about what they were feeling and missing. This book angered me. I had zero sympathy for these people. I wanted them all to die. Slowly & painfully.
The first chapter began with promise and action. After that it went downhill fast and finished with this reader slumped over asleep, covered in drool, dreaming of gouging her eyes out with a rusty spoon.