The Memory Keeper's Daughter
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The Memory Keeper's Daughter

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  418,496 ratings  ·  16,057 reviews
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 all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take...more
Paperback, 401 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tracy Rhodes
Dec 03, 2013 Tracy Rhodes rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tracy by: online book club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
I wanted to like this book.

I plowed through the first fifty or so pages in an airport earlier this week and prematurely told several people that it is quite good.

It is not.

While the writing is okay and the main plot line is fairly interesting:

* The author indulges in far too many unreasonably trite, cringe-worthy subplots;

* It's positively brimming with baby boomer-centric sentimental claptrap; and

* At least a half dozen scenes are completely ruined by the author's obvious naivete about the topi...more
Christian
Apr 24, 2007 Christian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People with secrets
Shelves: recently-read
This book was terrible, not because it was bad, but because it was so good: I couldn't put it down until I finished the final pages at 3 in the morning. Not a good thing, when your alarm goes off at 5:50 AM.

What fascinates me about this book is what it has to say about "secrets." The basic premise: a doctor is forced to deliver his wife's child in the middle of a raging snowstorm. The only complication is that she's actually carrying twins - the first, a healthy beautiful baby boy; the second, a...more
Lisa
Apr 06, 2008 Lisa rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Housewives and Oprah fans.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin
Jul 19, 2007 Erin rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Man I hated this book- the plot had some great potential, but instead you got to witness one scene of frustrated people not knowing how to deal with their emotions after another. Seriously, imagine 60 someodd pages of: wife- "I'm sad, darling, talk to me" husband- "we can't have another baby" silence...followed by wife being angry and husband yet again being emotionally stunted...ok, fine, I see that it's a result of him giving away their daughter with downs syndrome, but I just wouldn't end! Af...more
DeLaina
May 25, 2008 DeLaina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to DeLaina by: book club
Shelves: adult
I read a bunch of reviews of this book prior to reading it myself, and wasn't sure whether or not I would enjoy it.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked this book quite a bit, and here's why:

1. The story was fascinating! What would I have done in that situation? It was fun to imagine myself as Norah, Caroline, David or Paul and determine if my actions would mirror theirs, or if I would have done things differently.

2. The metaphors and imagery that Edwards uses are captivating. For exa...more
Heather
At first I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why I was not enjoying a book that sounded as though it would be ‘my kind of book’ in every way, but the more I read and the more I thought about it, the more reasons emerged.

From the beginning of the novel there were little details that bothered me. The plot often felt contrived, as pieces fell together too nicely. Of course life is crazy and there is always the possibility of the little pieces falling in the most peculiar way, but when all of your characte...more
Lola
**SPOILER FREE REVIEW**

Reading this book was like an up-hill battle for me. I have looked forward to reading it for so long and was expecting great things based on all the praise-worthy reviews on the book jacket. Boy was i disappointed! The plot and synopsis of the story had such excellent promise but along the way the author dropped the ball. It was very difficult to relate or sympathize with Norah Henry, even though she is the one wronged by her husband's rash (but not unfounded) decision to...more
Sarah
This is one of those books that I always see people reading in parks and on the subway, and I just want to shout at them, "Save yourself! There's still time to quit reading!"

Really, it's one of those books that has an interesting premise/situation, but doesn't go anywhere. The interesting premise is this: a couple has twins and the father sneaks away with the one twin who has Downs Syndrome. The mother doesn't know about this baby and it's raised by the father's coworker. You're interested, rig...more
Lisette Brodey
Wow, I'm really torn as to what to say about this book. I will start by saying that Kim Edwards is a skilled writer and there's no taking that away from her. Her words flow beautifully and that was greatly appreciated by me.

I began reading this book and fell in love with it. From the beginning, I was very sure that I was going to rate it with five stars. I was intrigued by the premise: It's 1964 and a doctor's wife gives birth to twins. The twins were unexpected (no ultrasounds back then) and so...more
Michele
Dark Trees in the Heart

The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a story about a secret--a terrible, life-altering secret running central to the story and in the lives of the characters. In spite of spanning only twenty-five years, it has an epic feel. A lot happens. We first meet Norah and David Henry on the stormy night she gives birth to twins. The boy, Paul, is born healthy. The second, an unexpected daughter, is born with Down's Syndrome. While his wife lay unconscious, David, a doctor who presides o...more
Alycia
Jul 26, 2007 Alycia rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women obsessed with husbands and "normalcy"
Shelves: fiction
Books like this make me mad.
I thought this story was very upper-middle class white suburbia. I don't know how to explain it any better, but I thought that there were these tiny sorrows within the story that were turned into gigantic dramas (so I guess it reflects the overall narrative in that sense), but I just didn't give a damn. There were 2 characters I could relate to, and 3/4 of the book was spent on characters that I felt were wasting away in the "perfect" suburbia of the 60's. Ugh. There...more
Tung
The book begins in 1964. A doctor delivers his own wife’s son, and to his own surprise, their son’s twin sister as well. From her physical features, the doctor recognizes the child has Down’s Syndrome and to protect his wife from the grief of having a child die early (common for Down’s children back then) since he and his own family had to deal with the death of his sister when she was young, the doctor hands the child over to his trusted nurse and instructs her to take the child to an instituti...more
Carol
Although the premise was extremely interesting, and there were true moments of brilliance in her characterizations, descriptions, and interactions, this book, more than anything, left me incredibly angry at the author. [Contains spoilers!:] Her characters are very deep, but only in one dimension. Her two stories are so clearly divided between good and evil, it's unrealistic. The last 50 pages or so are so filled with action that it made me wonder if she got to a certain point and her editor told...more
Becca
Although I really liked this book, I'm not sure I would openly recommend it to people for fear of them coming back and saying, "You liked THAT?" So there, I warned you, and if you decide to read it, you can't blame me!

The story starts in 1964 with a husband, who is a doctor, delivering his own wife's baby late on a snowy night at his clinic, because they couldn't make it to the hospital in the snow storm. After their son is born, his wife gives birth to an unexpected twin- a daughter with Down's...more
Meredith
This book would have been better if they would have cut out all of the descriptions that were used. Too much "The wind is blowing, it was cold, etc". I wanted the author to get to the point already. Other than that a very sad story about the love between a husband and wife and the secrets that are kept between them. Although I enjoyed the book it was just ok because of all the extra that was there.
Kei
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Navaneeta
It's a depressing book. A book in which although there is much music and songs, the sound that remains with you at the end is of water dripping from the faucet.

It irritated me. Why would all the different houses have leaky faucets? And it was not till the end of the book when David finally repairs the faucet in Norah's house that I realize its significance. There is no explaining the characters, but there's no condemning them either. They did what they had to. Don't we all? As Phoebe says,"life...more
Nola
Mar 26, 2008 Nola rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks lying is okay in marriage
Shelves: fiction-fantasy
Some moments in our lives are crossroads, moments where the course of our lives is shaped. Sometimes the deviation is minor, and sometimes it is life-altering. Such are the forces that form the first chapter of Kim Edwards’ novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.

A dreadful snowstorm forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his first child, which to his surprise turns out to be twins. The first is a perfect son, ideal in all ways. But the second child has Down’s syndrome. In a moment that changed and def...more
Diane
Although I read this book avidly, I was mostly disappointed in it. It really needed a Good editor! THe author does not seem to know what the book is about. I could have enjoyed the books theme of how secrets destroy relationships and how everyone has secrets, but it had to branch out and become a women's lib story and a rights of the disabled story - I was waiting for the cancer victims story and surprised it didn't surface. This author does not have the experience or excellence to tackle all th...more
Kristen
I was highly disappointed in this book. When I picked it up, it had great potential. A doctor (David) delivers his own child in a snowstorm only to discover that his wife (Norah) had twins. Hooray, right? Nope...the boy was born as healthy as all new parents hope their children to be. The girl, however, was born with Down's Syndrome. Thinking he was making the best choice for his family, he asks his nurse to take the baby to an institution. The nurse agrees, but then keeps the child to raise on...more
Kirsty
This was a fairly emotional read, and I found myself sympathising with the characters at some points, and hating them at others. I think the only character I actually liked the whole way through was Al. The other characters ranged from not liking them at all (Paul), to mostly sympathising, but not completely (Caroline).

I think the way that children with Down's Syndrome were treated in 1964 was scandalous. I was appalled at how they were automatically thought less of and sent to an institution. I...more
Jodie
I read this book when I was a member of a reading book group. I thought I was going to like it because of the "twins/children" theme. I really didn't enjoy it at all! I kept thinking something was going to happen & it never seemed to happen. Around the very end of the book, it finally began to pick up pace a little, but by then I was just ready for it to be over, that I really didn't care what the outcome was.

I felt bad for Norah because David kept such a HUGE secret from her, but I also fel...more
Bonnie

For her first novel (although Kim Edwards was not new to the literary scene), Edwards deserves high praise for her ability to create characters that are complex, sympathetic, and believable.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter begins in 1964. David Henry, an orthopedic surgeon, is forced to deliver his wife Norah’s baby with the assistance of his nurse Carolyn because a blizzard has prevented David from making it to the office. But it turns out that Norah is carrying twins. Paul, healthy, enters the wor...more
JBradford
Wasn’t it just last night that I said I did not give out five stars easily? I have to do it for this book; yes, run out and read it as fast as you can, for this novel will give you whole new insights into the mysteries of life and love and grief. Most of the books I waste my time reading are plot-filled page-turners, in which the author has a tremendous story that pours out through the pages, and you get just a little comprehension of what makes the characters tick as they progress through the a...more
Anastasia
Questo libro ha riaperto parentesi un po' trascurate (grossissimo anteprima).

All'inizio non mi ero resa conto del chiaro collegamento che faceva a parte della mia, nostra storia familiare, poi ad un tratto, a metà del libro, mi sono accorta di avere in comune una cosa con Paul, una cosa importante . Non si tratta di nulla a livello caratteriale, fisico o altro, è solo un avvenimento, che per me si identifica con il 29 Febbraio 1997, per lui invece con un giorno anonimo del Marzo del 1964. Forse...more
Stacie
I didn't get into the book until around page 200 (but it's normal for me to take a while to get into a book). I did however notice that I didn't have the kind of connection I normally have with the characters and the book (does that make sense?)

(let's see if I can remember all I wrote).... When David gives Phoebe to Caroline, I felt bad for Caroline because it should not have been her place to give Phoebe away. I also felt bad for Norah, who didn't even know she was having twins. I think David...more
Melody
A doctor (David Henry) who feels like he has a past to hide marries "the girl of his dreams"; someone who he thinks is beautiful and needs taking care of. After being married for a very short time she is pregnant and when she goes into labor there is ice and snow on the road and the obstetrician can't get to the hospital. David has to deliver his own child. The baby turns out to be twins. One "perfect" boy and one girl with Down's syndrome. While his wife is sedated from the delivery (it is the...more
Emily
First of all, what's with all the books named after relatives of [insert profession or title here]. The Time Traveler's Wife, the Memory Keeper's Daughter...isn't there an astronaut's wife too? (maybe a movie). And an Abortionist's Daughter?
Like most reviewers have said, the premise of this book is quite interesting. But the characters often fall flat, and the dialogue bugged the hell out of me. No character seemed to have an individual voice. Especially not Phoebe. And isn't she the title char...more
Shayantani Das
I guess the book was supposed to be poignant and touching, something at which it failed miserably. Although, it did accomplish the feat of being an extremely annoying book. I do not have a thing against flawed characters, but there is a difference between flawed and real. Just adding grey shades to characters does not make them realistic. There are so many discrepancies (Norah cheating, her reaction to the revelation, David’s actions) in their behavior and Caroline remains the only well fleshed...more
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Bookworm Buddies: The Memory Keeper's Daughter 16 34 Jul 11, 2014 09:29PM  
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Memory Keeper's Daughter 5 64 Apr 08, 2014 12:57PM  
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Kim Edwards grew up in Skaneateles, New York, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The oldest of four children, she graduated from Colgate University and the University of Iowa, where she received an MFA in Fiction and an MA in Linguistics. After completing her graduate work, she went with her husband to Asia, where they spent the next five years teaching, first on the rural east coast of Mala...more
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“Photography is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell.” 244 likes
“You can't stop time. You can't capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.” 178 likes
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