This review was written 11/07/10
Kim Edwards’s stunning family drama evokes the spirit of Sue Miller and Alice Sebold, articulating every mother’s silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? In 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins, he immediately recognizes that one of them has Down Syndrome and makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and to keep her birth a secret. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own. Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.
hmm where to start? I did like this book but maybe not as much as I was expecting after I’ve heard many good things about it. It took me a while to get into although it did get my emotions going fairly quickly. I didn’t feel particully attached to any of the characters for a long time, and even by the end I was only really bothered about Phobe.
At first I was only really interested in the Phobe storyline and found myself wanting those times to come around while I was reading the sections with her biological family. Part of this I think was because while I sympathised with Phobe I hated David. I could kind of see why he did what he did, I was mad that he did it. Most of all I was mad that he didn’t even give his wife (Norah) a chance to be involved in what would happen to Phobe. (highlight for small spoiler)And that was before he told Norah that Phobe was dead, I know he was scared, I know he thought he was doing what was for the best, but I hate that he made the presumption that only he could know what should be good. I hate the position he put Caroline in, making her lie to Norah, taking advantage of her love for him.I can understand but I can’t sympathise.
The story also wasn’t what I expected. The blurb was kind of misleading. I more expected it to be about bringing up a child who wasn’t your own and who had Down’s Syndrome. Or at least about discovering a child you didn’t know existed and how that effected you. In reality it was barely about Down’s Syndrome at all but about secrets and what they do to those involved in them. I would have actually liked it more if it was more about Down’s Syndrome I think, though even when I thought it was about that I was unsure.