Lisa's Reviews > The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
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's review
Apr 06, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: hated-and-overrated
Recommended for: Housewives and Oprah fans.
Read in January, 2008

** spoiler alert ** Will someone please explain to me why, at my age, and I should know better, I'm stilled swayed by the words "No. 1 N.Y. Times Bestseller!"? I found this for fifty cents at my library's used book sale last week. A warning I clearly ignored. But it had a good title, a beautiful, mysterious cover, and lots of people are reading it. Lots of people watch "Oprah" and "The View", too. About halfway through the first paragraph I realized, too late to get my fifty cents back, that this is CHICK LIT. Not even goofy, over-the-top fun chick lit, but "takes itself waaay too serious" chick lit pretending to be literature. The subtitle of this preposterous premised-book, choked with a mountain of useless detail, should have been "My Hidden Breastfeeding Agenda, Brought to You By the La Leche League".

She goes on, on, on, and on about "the milk rising", and other numerous references to the Joy of Breastfeeding. At least in the first chapters. Then she drops it like a hot potato, busily filling the pages with endless detail about patterns on people's clothing and how the ground looks. Instead of working on character development.

Anyway, the plot is just too much: Husband Pretends Handicapped Baby is Born Dead Keeps Big Secret From Wife and Marriage is NEVER THE SAME. Well, duh.

The main characters, except Caroline, are wholly unlikeable.
The writing is beyond tolerable; my eyes rolled so often they hurt.
Edwards clearly has "The Writer's Guide to Trite" and "The Big Book of Cliches" on her reference shelf. Ugh. Why do rooms always have to be "small but immaculate"?

Also, while casuarina trees and bougainvillea exist on Aruba, the "trademark tree" is the Divi-divi, and cacti are more typical than flowers. Let me guess, Edwards has never been there, right?

And note to author: You don't know your ass from a hole in the ground about photography. "Photography is about secrets" she writes. Whaaaa???? I thought it was about revelation and discovery. Thanks, Kim, I'll bring my diploma from R.I.T to work tomorrow and shred it in the shredder. And my friends out there, if you ever hear me coin a phrase like "Memory Keeper" in reference to me being a photographer, please walk quietly up behind me and smash my skull in with a baseball bat. At least that will be more pleasurable than reading this book.
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Reading Progress

07/06 marked as: hated-and-overrated

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Adele McVay A great review, you've summed it up nicely. It really bugged me that it was called the Memory Keepers Daughter, the Memory Keeper was just a camera, and the guy behind it was not in the business of keeping memories, he was all about burying them. I hated all the characters, the idiot wife, her rebel sister, the cold husband... they were all cliches! With the exception of Caroline, I got halfway through the book and wanted to just skip to the Caroline bits, it was as if her narrative had been written by a different (more talented) author. I will forever regret that I didn't skip to those parts and will forever kick myself that I didn't just follow my instincts and throw the book away after 10 pages!

message 2: by Caroline (new) - added it

Caroline haha, Wow, I guess I won't be reading this book. Cut the tact- sometimes I enjoy brutal honesty. The "smash my skull in with a baseball bat" was the seller for me. Thanks for the review!

chucklesthescot Totally agree. Poor writing, dreadful characters, over descriptive waffle, unworkable plot and terrible use of language...

Jenny Fabulous review, Lisa! I'm about to read this book and funnily enough your comments make me all the more keen to, if only to see whether or not I agree. It must be noted that I only bought this book out of desperation for something to read after seeing an article on the book's author. I have, in fact, been avoiding it for some time. In my experience, so-called 'best sellers' often disappoint.

message 5: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan I'm brand new to Goodreads and found your review really refreshing. Your comments have finally made me realise why I'd forgotten everything from my first read of the book about 5 years ago. The expression 'chick lit' did come to mind often as I read but I was captivated by the emotions the basic plot roused in me and had to find what happened. The particular things you mention had seemed to me mere artificial devices to move forward, without real relevance. I wish I'd had your comments to use at my book group discussion as many of your thoughts would have resounded there.

message 6: by Erin (new) - rated it 1 star

Erin Ha! I finished this book last night, wishing I could reclaim the lost parts of my life. And it's only now, after reading your review, that I get the part about "memory keeper." Really, normally, I'm not this dense - except when I made the decision to keep reading this book.

Emmarose Don't disagree with your review particularly your point about the endless mindless detail at the expense of character/plot development. However I do take exception to your assertion that housewives would like this book. Way to stereotype and generalize.

Patti Housewives really get their shit up in knots over way too many things. Calm down. (Your review was spot on, btw).

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