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Daughter's Keeper

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,362 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Waldman, author of the Mommy Track mystery series, here takes a more serious tack, telling the story of a young woman who battles the American legal system's inflexible drug laws. Olivia Goodman, a rebellious 22-year-old, dropped out of college as a sophomore and headed for Mexico. After she moved back to her hometown of Oakland, Calif., she was followed by Jorge Luis Rodr ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published September 17th 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,536)
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Lacy
While not the most amazing book I've ever read by a long shot, I was pleasantly stunned by how good and informative this was. The story seems like it SHOULD be far-fetched, but I believed [nearly] every bit of it, and it's a story that doesn't seem to be frequently told. At least - not convincingly or engagingly.

Mostly it's an eye-opening insight on the American legal system in terms of drug trafficking, immigration, and the nuts and bolts of what happens to whom, when. Pretty much the disbelief
...more
Krissy
This book has excellent characters and is a very real, beautiful examination of a mother/daughter relationship. Beautiful does NOT equal mushy--Olivia and her mom Elaine are frequently not very nice to each other. There's a lot of misunderstanding and drawing of boundaries, but the way they get through the horrible situation that is at the crux of this book is absolutely moving.

Also, I read this book in less than a day, which is NOT something I'm typically able to do. I HATE Jodi Picoult's work
...more
Betsy
This is a very good book, and it paints a very stark picture of the consequences of federal sentencing guidelines. I couldn't put it down.
Chana
In many ways a pretty good story.
Olivia and her mom have a little bit of a rocky relationship. Olivia, idealistic champion of the poor, especially in under-developed nations, feels her mother is insensitive to the plight of those less fortunate than herself. Olivia has dropped out of college and is living with her illegal alien Mexican boyfriend in a bad neighborhood. She is working to make ends meet but with the boyfriend unable to find work they are struggling. The boyfriend feels inadequate a
...more
K2 -----
You can tell in the reading this is one of Waldman's early novels but I liked it none the less. I find it interesting to read an author's early work to see how they hone their craft. It had a slow beginning, a bit unpolished in spots, but it fleshed out. Author Ms. Waldman, is a Harvard trained attorney and worked in LA in the Prosecutor's office so her portrayal of the legal system and its many flaws is quite well done.

The characters are not likable but the strains of the central mother/daught
...more
Sarah
I really hope Ayelet Waldman sticks to writing literature. As her first stand-alone novel, Daughter's Keeper will keep you addicted from start to finish, with Waldman's experience as a defense attorney really coming to light in a very creative way. Having read 100% of Waldman's work to date, I highly recommend bypassing her "Mommy-Track" cozy mystery series and dedicating your time and energy to not only reading Daughter's Keeper, but Love and Other Impossible Pursuits (2005) and Red Hook Road ( ...more
Robin
I enjoyed this book very much. I learned much about the legal system and federal mandatory minimum sentences among other things. The characters were well developed, but ones I did not like very much. Not that one has to always like or understand the characters, they are what they are. Being introduced to, "The Saddest Poem" ( p. 308) by Pablo Neruda was an extra bonus.

My favorite quote comes from a scene when the young mother character and her small child are to say good bye at the end of her pr
...more
Rosey
A book that really made me THINK. It was about a woman who unwittinly went on a ride with her boyfriend who was making a drug run, and has taken down a message for her boyfriend on the phone, even though she was against the whole idea, and had begged her boyfriend not to participate in it. He had promised her it was only a one-time thing, and unknowingly to them, they were watched by the drug enforcement agents and had gotten arrested. She was pregnant, and had to go through difficult decisions ...more
Lisa
The stars are more for what I learned from the book (policy-wise - mandatory minimums). I do like Ayelet Waldman. I think she's a good story-teller and most of her characters are well-drawn. I "got" Olivia. The story is heartbreaking. My stomach still turns when I think of how easy it was for her to make the mistake she did and the repucussions. Waldman's descriptions of the trial, prison, life there and Olivia's condition seemed absolutely believable. Elaine though - I did not "get"; she put me ...more
Yolanda
I would actually give this book a 4.5.

I really enjoyed this book. The relationship between mother and daughter was something that you can definitely relate to. I know that my relationship with my Mom is strained at best, and in Daughter's Keeper, it helps me understand just a little bit on the mom's perspective.

In this book, the daughter, Olivia gets into a jam and needs her mom's help. The mom, Elaine, helps because it is her daughter, but you see that she struggle's with what Olivia needs and
...more
Tess
Sep 25, 2007 Tess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mothers and Daughters
Why do all the books I've read recently either try to make me cry, or succeed? This book was very difficult to get into. It's not divided into chapters, only 2 large sections (fine) and jumps from person to person at a dizzying pace that it almost gives you whiplash. I had to read the first several pages over and over again to figure out who in the world the characters were.

Once I got into it, the book was easy and fast to read. Although I could see where the book was going, it was still engagin
...more
Janette
I've had a tough time with fiction lately, but the steady, authentic voice of this book drew me in immediately. Set in the East Bay, the book centers upon the relationship of an empty-nester mother and her 20-something daughter. It explores the issues of illegal immigration, the criminal justice system, and prison life juxtaposed against a progressive up-bringing in one of Berkeley's picture-perfect neighborhoods. Very heavy themes, but the author pulls is off seamlessly. Even when the plot turn ...more
Tara
i liked that it was set in berkeley, in elmwood, no less, my old stomping grounds. i liked the message about the absurdity and injustice of federal sentencing laws.

i liked pretty much everything about it the first time i read it--but liked it less the second time, when i re-read it for a book club. probably the second time i was focusing less on the suspense of the story and more on the characters and their relationships (primarily the mother-daughter one), which upon closer inspection was sort
...more
Marnie
Interesting book, about the struggles a mother an daughter have, and what it takes for them to heal and strengthen their relationship. While it started out as each other blaming one another, it shows self reflection and healing.
Peggy
I enjoyed this book. This is a story of a somewhat strong willed, rebellious girl ( although basically a good kid) Olivia, and her relationship with her mother, Elaine. Elaine has never had a nurturing relationship with her daughter. Elaine raised Olivia as a single mother and is just now enjoying a comfortable loving relationship with a man who wants nothing to do with kids or a family. Parallel to this story Olivia drops out of college and meets up with a man while in Mexico. Olivia comes back ...more
Sarah
I found this book while scanning the shelves at the local library and saw on the back jacket that author Elizabeth Stroud gave her recommendation. That was good enough for me to try it. What a great find! I loved this book and I would highly recommend it - a fantastic little read for a book group. 335 pages. This was published in 2003.
A young woman still learning the ways of her own heart,gets herself indicted on federal drug charges even though she really was an innocent bystander. The story fo
...more
Nicole
Waldman's style is simple and straight-forward, which lets her riff on a host of themes, ranging from the criminal justice system and mandatory minimums, to motherhood and birth, to the complications of race and class. She also manages to look at these themes using practically all of her characters, who are different enough that they give the reader a well-rounded picture of each issue. Waldman manages to do all that without seeming preachy, either.
Darci
I think I might just have a new favorite author. This book was AMAZING. I had read another of Waldman's fiction novels and liked it a lot, but not overwhelmingly so. I will say no more about this book because I don't want to spoil it, but if you like a great story that makes you mad, sad, happy and torn up, this is the book for you. I loved it.
Angelique
Parts of the plot were so predictable... but I really appreciate how Waldman wrote the dynamic between mother and daughter. I guess I identified with Olivia to some extent -- feeling like my mother was always at arm's length and eternally disappointed with my life's decisions.

It was an interesting story with flawed characters.
Kate
Way too much telling and not enough showing. There is a good story in here -- several, really-- but I felt as if Waldman were so invested in getting her point across that she didn't trust her readers to absorb it on their own. I found all of the characters predictable and none especially likeable.
Elisabeth Watson
I've read this twice and I couldn't put it down either time. It's a great story of a few dumb decisions with serious consequences. It also cuts to the quick of our insane system of mandatory minimums and the criminal justice systems approach to drugs.
Hillary
I really enjoyed this book. It was nothing like I had expected and at the end of the book I had a completely different perspective on peoples lives. Its a great read that can give you a whole new outlook on others.
Jennifer
Ayelet Waldman is a master at making you root for unsympathetic characters. Fast, well-written, enjoyable read focusing on the relationship between an emotionally limited mother and a headstrong daughter.
Casey
Thoroughly unlikeable characters. It's a book about weak people. It did, however, really make some interesting points.

Also, I like that Waldman is married to Michael Chabon. That's hot.
Kathy
Daughter gets arrested for Mexican boyfriends drup deal, gets pregnant, imprisoned. Mom eventually agrees to raise child.
Katie O'Rourke

This is the third book I've read by Ayelet Waldman and it is probably my favorite. It also happens to be the first of the three, although she has also penned a series of mystery novels I have not read.

Daughter's Keeper is told in multiple third person narration, which is an extremely effective way of getting the reader to become emotionally attached not only to the main character Olivia, but also her mother, Elaine. We are even forced to sympathize with the boyfriend who gets Olivia involved and
...more
Joy
Jul 09, 2014 Joy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014, novel
I LOVED this book. The mother/daughter stuff was great and the injustice of our mandatory sentencing was described in such a way that it left me almost breathless several times. The author managed to take on a political issue while making you fall I love with characters that were hard to even like in the beginning of the story. So good.
Vickie
I am a big fan of Ms. Waldman's fiction and nonfiction. Somehow this book flew under my radar--I'd read Red Hook Road and Love... and I found it at the thrift store yesterday, and I didn't stop reading it till 11 pm last night when I finished it!

Elaine is Olivia's single mom; Olivia is a headstrong, idealistic daughter living with the boy she met when she went to Mexico to live out her dream of working actively for social justice, Jorge is the boy who fell in love with Olivia and followed her ov
...more
Doris
Engrossing tale of one young woman's mostly innocent involvement in the world of drug-dealing and then facing the consequences. Sad, eye-opening, almost a political diatribe against the DEA and the Federal government's method of curbing the drug wars.
Sally
A great book about mother love and the federal mandatory drug law debacle, we call the "war on drugs". I feel sad for those poor people who have fallen down that rabbit hole in our society. But, I was glad for the information in this book.
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Ayelet Waldman is the author of Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of ...more
More about Ayelet Waldman...
Red Hook Road Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Love & Treasure Nursery Crimes (A Mommy-Track Mystery, #1)

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