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The Memory Keeper's Daughter

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The Memory Keeper's Daughter Cover

ISBN13: 9780143037149
ISBN10: 0143037145
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Award-winning writer Kim Edwards's The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted, completely riveting family drama that explores every mother's silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child, and she grew up without you?

On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century — in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by David Henry's fateful decision that long-ago winter night.

Rich, compulsively readable, and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper's Daughter captures the way life takes unexpected turns, and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that hold a occurs when long-buried secrets burst into the open. It is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.

Review:

"Edwards's assured but schematic debut novel (after her collection, The Secrets of a Fire King) hinges on the birth of fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down syndrome, resulting in the father's disavowal of his newborn daughter. A snowstorm immobilizes Lexington, Ky., in 1964, and when young Norah Henry goes into labor, her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Henry, must deliver their babies himself, aided only by a nurse. Seeing his daughter's handicap, he instructs the nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her to a home and later tells Norah, who was drugged during labor, that their son Paul's twin died at birth. Instead of institutionalizing Phoebe, Caroline absconds with her to Pittsburgh. David's deception becomes the defining moment of the main characters' lives, and Phoebe's absence corrodes her birth family's core over the course of the next 25 years. David's undetected lie warps his marriage; he grapples with guilt; Norah mourns her lost child; and Paul not only deals with his parents' icy relationship but with his own yearnings for his sister as well. Though the impact of Phoebe's loss makes sense, Edwards's redundant handling of the trope robs it of credibility. This neatly structured story is a little too moist with compassion. Agent, Geri Thoma. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Edwards is a born novelist....Rich with psychological detail and the nuances of human connection." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Unfolds from an absolutely gripping premise, drawing you deeply and irrevocably into the entangled lives of two families and the devastating secret that shaped them both. I loved this riveting story." Sue Monk Kidd

Review:

"Anyone would be struck by the extraordinary power and sympathy of The Memory Keeper's Daughter." The Washington Post

Review:

"A gripping novel, beautifully written. With amazing compassion, Kim Edwards explores the impact of a family secret that challenges the limits of love and redemption." Ursula Hegi

Review:

"Kim Edwards has created a tale of regret and redemption, of honest emotion, of characters haunted by their past. This is simply a beautiful book." Jodi Picoult

Review:

"Unfortunately, after its fast and sure-footed start, the story sags....First-novelist Edwards excels at celebrating a quiet wholesomeness but stumbles over her storyline." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A] moving story of two families bound by a secret that both eats away at relationships and eventually helps to create new ones." Booklist

Synopsis:

A #1 New York Times bestseller by Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a brilliantly crafted novel of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love

Kim Edwards’s stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964 in Lexington, Kentucky, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century—in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that winter night long ago.

A family drama, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter explores every mother's silent fear: What would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? It is also an astonishing tale of love and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that occurs when long-buried secrets are finally uncovered.

Synopsis:

Kim Edward‛s stunning family drama evokes the spirit of Sue Miller and Alice Sebold, articulating every mothe‛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 Keepe‛s Daughter is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.

About the Author

Kim Edwards is the author of the short story collection The Secrets of a Fire King, which was an alternate for the 1998 PEN/Hemingway Award, and she has won both the Whiting Award and the Nelson Algren Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, she currently teaches writing at the University of Kentucky.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 18 comments:

ambrose, May 12, 2012 (view all comments by ambrose)
Totally boring, the author was too remote from the subjects, the only one who actually spoke to me was the nurse's boyfriend, Al. The others are cliches, sorry, don't wish to hurt anyone's feelings, but I think this book could have had a much better edit than it got.
The idea of twins, etc was interesting, but the book was just hard work. I think the author needs to get inside someone's head more, you actually need to identify with the protagonist and other characters but it was just a mishmash with too much detail as to whereabouts everything happened...
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
C., January 1, 2011 (view all comments by C.)
Dr. David Henry is forced, through an act of God, to deliver his child in the middle of a blizzard. The child turns out to be twins. His son is perfect: his wife's daughter, less so. She has Down's syndrome. To spare his family untold grief, he gives his imperfect daughter to his office nurse, Caroline, to drop off at the local institution. Broken windows covered with plywood, peeling paint, cracked linoleum, cold, and with the smell of urine everywhere, she can't do it.
Instead, she leaves town and takes the baby with her.
No matter what your motives, it's never a good idea to take a baby from its mother and tell the mother the baby died. Not a good idea at all.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
emmejo, November 20, 2010 (view all comments by emmejo)
When Dr. David Henry's wife gave birth his son was perfect. His daughter had Down syndrome. He tells himself that the best thing for her is to send her with a nurse to a facility for the mentally ill and inform his wife that their daughter died in birth. Caroline, the nurse, can't bear to do it and she disappears, taking the infant with her. Each family attempts to go on with their lives, but they are secretly bound to each other.

This was a gripping story, and difficult to put down once you start reading. However, I didn't find it as inspiring or wondrous as some reviewers apparently did. I was rather appalled by how weak most of these characters were. They seemed all to willing to simply throw their hands up and flush their life down the toilet. I was frustrated by this, and rather angered. I know I am more stubborn than most folks, but I still found it unbelievable that all these people just sat back, got a drink, and watched things fall apart. Then they had the nerve to whine about how hard everything was and how unfair, which mostly all worked out happily in the end. Shouldn't a family try to help one another through these incidents rather than sticking their heads in the sand and saying "It will go away. Just wait a little longer."? How often does that work?

My problem wasn't as much the decision to send away the little girl, I know that was common in the time period this was set in, but with the inability of these characters to do anything for each other rather than themselves. (Even Caroline has some selfish reasons for keeping the little girl, although hers bothered me the least.)

The writing is solid and the characters are varied. I did feel sometimes that the author was trying too hard to write something that could be called "literature" rather than mere "fiction." It felt a little forced and lofty sometimes, while the actual language and sentence structure weren't always strong enough to support all of what the author dumped on it.

Despite it's flaws, I enjoyed this book. I thought it did a good job of showing that things we consider completely unacceptable (giving away a child) isn't necessarily an act of evil.
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(3 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 18 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143037149
Author:
Edwards, Kim
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Various
Subject:
General
Subject:
Parent and child
Subject:
Custody of children
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20060531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8.26 x 5.23in
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


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The Memory Keeper's Daughter Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143037149 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Edwards's assured but schematic debut novel (after her collection, The Secrets of a Fire King) hinges on the birth of fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down syndrome, resulting in the father's disavowal of his newborn daughter. A snowstorm immobilizes Lexington, Ky., in 1964, and when young Norah Henry goes into labor, her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Henry, must deliver their babies himself, aided only by a nurse. Seeing his daughter's handicap, he instructs the nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her to a home and later tells Norah, who was drugged during labor, that their son Paul's twin died at birth. Instead of institutionalizing Phoebe, Caroline absconds with her to Pittsburgh. David's deception becomes the defining moment of the main characters' lives, and Phoebe's absence corrodes her birth family's core over the course of the next 25 years. David's undetected lie warps his marriage; he grapples with guilt; Norah mourns her lost child; and Paul not only deals with his parents' icy relationship but with his own yearnings for his sister as well. Though the impact of Phoebe's loss makes sense, Edwards's redundant handling of the trope robs it of credibility. This neatly structured story is a little too moist with compassion. Agent, Geri Thoma. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Edwards is a born novelist....Rich with psychological detail and the nuances of human connection."
"Review" by , "Unfolds from an absolutely gripping premise, drawing you deeply and irrevocably into the entangled lives of two families and the devastating secret that shaped them both. I loved this riveting story."
"Review" by , "Anyone would be struck by the extraordinary power and sympathy of The Memory Keeper's Daughter."
"Review" by , "A gripping novel, beautifully written. With amazing compassion, Kim Edwards explores the impact of a family secret that challenges the limits of love and redemption."
"Review" by , "Kim Edwards has created a tale of regret and redemption, of honest emotion, of characters haunted by their past. This is simply a beautiful book."
"Review" by , "Unfortunately, after its fast and sure-footed start, the story sags....First-novelist Edwards excels at celebrating a quiet wholesomeness but stumbles over her storyline."
"Review" by , "[A] moving story of two families bound by a secret that both eats away at relationships and eventually helps to create new ones."
"Synopsis" by ,
A #1 New York Times bestseller by Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a brilliantly crafted novel of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love

Kim Edwards’s stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964 in Lexington, Kentucky, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century—in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that winter night long ago.

A family drama, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter explores every mother's silent fear: What would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? It is also an astonishing tale of love and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that occurs when long-buried secrets are finally uncovered.

"Synopsis" by , Kim Edward‛s stunning family drama evokes the spirit of Sue Miller and Alice Sebold, articulating every mothe‛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 Keepe‛s Daughter is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.
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