Friday, July 25, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I just finished reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. This is a wonderful book of prose. The words flow across the page like a gentle breeze. I imbibed every syllable. The book weaves relationships based on well-intended lies (if there is such a thing) and deceit. Pride takes center stage with the characters as well, often prompting the miscommunication and incidents that occur.

The book begins in the early 60s when a doctor's wife has twins -- one perfectly healthy and the other is considered a mongoloid (later called Down's Syndrome). Remembering the anxiety and hurt that his Down's Syndrome sister caused his mother and family, the doctor decides to have the nurse take the "sick" twin to an institution.

The nurse isn't able to leave the baby girl and the doctor tells his wife their little girl died at birth. The book then becomes two simultaneous stories. We watch the nurse raise the girl as her own, fighting for her daughter to have equal rights in school and community. The chasm caused by the death of their little girl creates turmoil and grief between the doctor, his wife and son.

I was intrigued by the characters, their pains and their celebrations. It was life -- good and bad. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the end. It wrapped up nicely, but it had a touch of the corny and sentimental -- a voice that didn't match the rest of the book. All in all, I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

p.s. I apologize if this is not a fully developed and detailed book review. I had written a brilliant one earlier and the text was lost when I lost power on my computer. But, I think you get the idea.

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