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The Memory Keeper's Daughter

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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  459,261 ratings  ·  16,564 reviews
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,
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ebook, 432 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 2005)
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Wiedienacht Another part of it may be, and Nora admits this herself, that it was a point in time where the wife was in a lot of ways subservient to the husband.…moreAnother part of it may be, and Nora admits this herself, that it was a point in time where the wife was in a lot of ways subservient to the husband. Her grief allowed her to push, but not far enough. She acquiesced because her husband was supposed to know better than she. It's one of the biggest themes of the book, how that dynamic initially shaped their marriage, how she finally rebelled against it, how it hurt them both. (Alongside the "death" of her daughter.)

As far as no one else questioning the missing body, it probably had to do with the doctor's connections, although it isn't really explained in the book, as far as I can remember.(less)
Wiedienacht
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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  ·  review of another edition
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
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Christian
Apr 24, 2007 Christian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lisa
Apr 06, 2008 Lisa rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Alycia
Jul 26, 2007 Alycia rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Hanna
May 14, 2015 Hanna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hanna by: Michael
"This was the grief he had tried to spare Norah and Paul, only to create so many others."


This book is so beautiful.

The coming part is a little summary for the plot, if you want to read my opinion, just skip till you see the line. *NO SPOILERS*

Many many years after Down's Syndrome took David Henrey's sister's life, he was shocked to find that, while delievering his own baby, she has Down's Syndrome too. And the possibility of her early death is so high that he had a moment of decision, to
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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
Carol
A beautiful and moving story about a secret kept for 25 years and the effects on the people involved. I really enjoyed this one. I knew the secret world come out eventually, I just had that feeling that it would, but I love how the writer moved each of the characters through the story.
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.
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
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Kei
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nola
Mar 26, 2008 Nola rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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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
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
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
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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
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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
dara
Nov 03, 2009 dara rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one with any self-respect
How is it that this book is popular?

I don't get it.

I really don't.

I decided to try listening to an audio book on my 9-hour drive to Florida. Being poor, I naturally turned to the library and was not surprised by its pitiful selection. This was one of the few titles available in CD format. Simply to pass the time, I listened to over 4 discs. I started zoning out during disc 3. By the middle of disc 5, I reached my limit. I have another 9 hours of driving Sunday, but I won't bother finishing this
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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
Julie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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.” 265 likes
“You can't stop time. You can't capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.” 181 likes
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