Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Book of 2015 The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper's DaughterThe Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

March 1964 changed the lives of David Henry and his wife of barely a year forever. Dr. Henry, an orthopedic surgeon delivered his own twins in a blizzard. Norah and David were hoping for a healthy baby, and Norah told him Paul if a boy and Phoebe if it's a girl.  In 1964, delivery procedures were different. With the help of the nurse from the clinic where David worked, he delivered a healthy son. A form of gas was used to keep the mother relaxed between contractions, and David soon realized that Norah was delivering another baby. A girl, this time. As he holds here in his hands, he and the nurse both recognize that this baby has Down's syndrome. Always wanting to protect and take care of others, Dr. Henry as his nurse to take the baby to an institution and never reaveal the secret. He rationalizes that his wife would never be able to handle the baby's added needs and expected early death.

Unable to leave the tiny infant at the institution, Carolyn Gill disappears and raises the baby herself. She had a blank birth certificate, that Dr David Henry had hastily signed knowing that the nurse would finalize the details. So begins a story that unfolds over 25 years and binds two families together by these fateful decisions.

I was immediately drawn in by this story. I raised my own children in this time period. My first child was born in 1964. But I could not relate to a father giving up his child. As the story developed I began to understand that Dr Henry was broken. By circumstances beyond his control. He need to be always in control. Norah was a women I never grew to like. She was spoiled, inconsiderate of others, unable to relate to her husband and smothered her son.

But this story is well written, with good character development. I wanted to slap Norah and David, hug Paul the son who never felt complete, and cheer on Caroline and Phoebe and try to get them to find each other and share the secret.

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