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The Memory Keeper's Daughter

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message 1: by Isabella (last edited Feb 21, 2007 05:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Isabella That old cliche of the path to hell is paved with good intentions could certainly apply to this story. The tale of loss and discovery is beautifully written.


Teresa Currier I agree with that....this book, I think, shows the definition of poetic justice!


Lindsey Poetic justice for whom? The only people "punished" in the end were the ones who never knew they were wronged. And by the time they found out, the one who'd done all the damage was already gone.


message 4: by M (new) - rated it 2 stars

M I agree. I also felt like no one was likable in that book. I found it engaging enough, I guess, but so depressing - and I even go for depressing, but only if I know the characters. Here they all seemed a very obvious function of the author's own need rather than independent people.


Marie No one was admirable except for Pheobe. All the main characters were self centered. What kept me turning pages? I wanted to know how the author would resolve the question of her identity.


message 6: by kasi (new)

kasi This was a great book with a remarkable plot.
The two mothers were so different. I admired
Caroline who gave Phoebe such a good life and
Phoebe was so endearing.


Sarah I agree - the characters were ultimately unlikable. NOrah had potential - the beautiful perfect princess who could have started down the depressive cycle to alcohol and despair but instead she ends up marrying a Frnech man and owning her own business? David was acutally the one I understood the most - but why did he never tell anyone about his past? Caroline was okay but what was with her problems with her own husband? That seemed weird.


message 8: by Jane (new) - rated it 1 star

Jane I found this book disappointing - the characters were so very flawed. Caroline and Phoebe were by far the best.


message 9: by Nina (new)

Nina Yee ifound this book to be beautifully written and could not put it down


Carisa I agree that I did not entirely 'click' with any of the characters. But I felt the most sympathy, ironically, with David. Especially at the end when the mother and son are so angry at him, I thought they were being really harsh. Yes, it was wrong what he did of course but it seems like those were not sympathetic times for people who were different. Plus, given his childhood, it is somewhat understanding why he didn't tell Nora. I found the description of Nora's depression really convincing too. Overall, it was an interesting read.


Chelsea i found the plot very thick and complicated but never the less it was a beutiful book


message 12: by Nina (new)

Nina Yee ifound the book to be very special as it was hard to put down.beautifully written


Michelle I actually liked David. I think that I understood what he was doing the most. I also think that he was truly tortored even though he chose his own prison he was never accepted by the people that he loved the most, not in his past or present. I do think the part where he gets to tell his story was a bit out of place in this wonderfully written story; however. Nora was a self-centered, narrow-minded woman who never opened her heart to what life could bring. I disliked Nora immensely. This book resonated with me on so many levels.


Bambi It kept my attention, but honestly I really didn't like it at all. It was just sad and painful and the characters were just not very likable.


message 15: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie I wish I had read these reviews before I "started" this book last October. I can't like anyone in this book and I tell myself I should finish it but I can't. I don't like any of the main characters and I just want to reach into the book and strangle David. I've been about 1/3 of the way through it for about 3 months now. Sadly, I don't know if I will ever finish it. I don't want to invest myself in characters I find, as a whole, unlike and selfish. I don't see any way for the writer to redeem these people.


Bambi Jackie, don't bother finishing it. It does NOT get better. I wish I hadn't bothered finishing it. At least now I can save you some time!


Hillary Jackie, I agree with Bambi - don't bother finishing it. I thought this book just dragged on and on making me incredibly depressed. I was really interested in it when I first started reading it, but as I got further into it I started to hate all the characters and their vapid lives.
I skimmed over the last 60 pages just so I could find out how it ends. Trust me, it's not worth it. The books starts good and then goes WAY downhill.
Save yourself the trouble and start reading a better book.


Yaelian I agree with the past 3 comments! Thank you for getting me off the hook. I will no longer feel heinous guilt that it sits on my bedside with 30 pages left to go. I hate the book and every character in it!!


Yaelian I agree with the past 3 comments! Thank you for getting me off the hook. I will no longer feel heinous guilt that it sits on my bedside with 30 pages left to go. I hate the book and every character in it!!


Yaelian I agree with the past 3 comments! Thank you for getting me off the hook. I will no longer feel heinous guilt that it sits on my bedside with 30 pages left to go. I hate the book and every character in it!!


message 21: by Jac (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jac I agree with Bambi.. "It kept my attention, but honestly I really didn't like it at all. It was just sad and painful and the characters were just not very likable."

I am at the final pages of it. Just want to finish it soon so I can move on to another book.


message 22: by Beth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth I guess I found this to be a compelling look at how life can fall apart, even when trying to do what you feel is best in a difficult situation. I am not saying that I liked what the characters did or the decisions they made, but I could see why they did. That is what made it a good story for me. I like the irony of trying to do what is right and then having it be the thing that ruins everything. For me, a good read doesn't have to be happy or the characters don't have to be likable all the time, but it needs to be real. I felt like given the time period and circumstances, I could really see where people might do the things these characters did. Sad, but true.


BookDigger Hmm, I gave the book the benefit of the doubt and kept reading. I have to say, there is so much truth to the whole novel. As much as we can say we can't stand David for all that he did, he did it because of the love he felt for Norah (as twisted as his decision) and he wanted to spare her pain. It's twisted honor I guess. Though, can we all say that we wouldn't have done the same during that time period. Things are different these days with medical attention, but then, I think it was probably harder. I can't truly say that I would read the book again, but I think it was definitely worth reading. It made me think that not everyone is happy and I guess it just, inspired me to get involved in people's lives. Not everyone has the same notions to do the "right thing" in raising children in the attention they need. Yes, it was depressing, but I think it definitely sparks thought.


Julie I think the characters were so unlikable because they were all living a lie. You cannot be your true self while living a lie, whether you know you are or not. None of them felt "right". None of them were at ease. That is why they seemed so detached with themselves and others. They couldn't function properly.
I like to think that Norah would have turned out, or shall we say, she would have stayed sweet, gentle and likable had she had her sweet Phoebe with her all those years. Yes, she would have become strong, but instead of getting strong in an abrasive way it would have been strength gain through helping build up her daughter rather than strength gained through fighting against the unnatural course her life took. She probably could have done all if not more than Carolyn did for Phoebe.



message 25: by Masymas (new)

Masymas The ending was a little lacking, but it was the secret that kept me reading, it's impact on people's lives, and psyche's, especially david's. Some of that was a little contrived and cliche, the affairs, the pregnant homeless girl in the house he grew up in, and the french husband... but i was drawn in to the secret, one momentary decision by two people and what becomes of it. I was also drawn in by the fact that this was not an uncommon response to having a child with down's syndrome. I'd say that aspect of the story is what made it a bestseller, not it's character development, but it's human content, a cautionary tale in favor of honesty.


message 26: by Arizonaheat (new)

Arizonaheat When I finished this book a few months ago, I said then, I hated it. I only finished it as it was our book-club book. However, to me, a sure sign of a good book is one that you're still thinking about a few months later. The concept that one decision, one secret can change your life . . . create your life . . . have a life all its own, still haunts me when thinking about this book. So, even though I think the author took the cheaters way out by "killing" the problem and making everyone else fend for themselves ... Overall, I'd have to say it was a good book.
Denise.


Karen Addington I read this book a year or so ago and after reading the previous remarks I must say I agree that a book you read months or years ago that still impacts the emotions has to be a great book. I don't have to like the characters (or relate to them) to enjoy a book but I remember being intrigued about the relationships and that I could not stop reading it. I may have to read it again someday.


message 28: by Redlilly24 (new)

Redlilly24 I have to say this book is not overly engrossing; it’s easy to put down and forget about. But I did like the style of writing; it seemed soft, dream like story telling. It’s a way to tell emotions through a soft, slow motion.
I did not like any characters but David. I found him to be a deep, caring, loving man who was betrayed and misunderstood by his wife and people around him. I found Nora highly unlikable, selfish and self absorbed. I loathed her as I got more into the story. She was so concerned with her emotions, her life, her needs, her fears, her, her, her, and her. That she completely forgot about the man she lived with. All her depression to me was almost childish, self wallowing; the princess who did not get what she "deserved". Caroline had promise but I found her to be dry and boring and highly un-compelling character, too closed in for no reason that I could see. So David is the only character I found worth caring for.



message 29: by Redlilly24 (new)

Redlilly24 I have to say this book is not overly engrossing; it’s easy to put down and forget about. But I did like the style of writing; it seemed soft, dream like story telling. It’s a way to tell emotions through a soft, slow motion.
I did not like any characters but David. I found him to be a deep, caring, loving man who was betrayed and misunderstood by his wife and people around him. I found Nora highly unlikable, selfish and self absorbed. I loathed her as I got more into the story. She was so concerned with her emotions, her life, her needs, her fears, her, her, her, and her. That she completely forgot about the man she lived with. All her depression to me was almost childish, self wallowing; the princess who did not get what she "deserved". Caroline had promise but I found her to be dry and boring and highly un-compelling character, too closed in for no reason that I could see. So David is the only character I found worth caring for.



Jessica I just finished this book, and while it is not one of my favorites I found that I did enjoy it a lot. I think that Edwards does a good job of looking at the human psyche and how one choice can effect so many other lives. There was not one chracter that I really despised. Yes, Norah adultured and made some bad choices throughout the book. However, to me it fit psychologically. Most of Norahs actions stemmed from David's orginal decision to give up their daughter.

I disagree that Caroline's character was dry and boring. I think that she completely transformed in the story but we do not see it as much because the author chooses to focus more on David, Norah, and Paul. In the beginning Caroline was just a wallflower watching life as it happened. By the end of the book she has fought for the educational rights of her daughter and created a life out of odds and ends.

I think that each character in the story has flaws and that is what makes this story so down to earth and real. Overall I think this book was pretty good, there were slow parts but once you reached the climax it was very engagin. I agree with Masymas, thought that the end was a little lacking.


Alice I had a lot of technical difficulties with this book. On page 140-141 it reads "...marveling at his son's shoulder blades..like wings..." and on pg 296 again "...her sister's shoulder blades were...like wings". In the chapter titled August 1977 on pg 199 "...he took the keys and went out into the soft spring night." I guess spring comes really late in Kentucky! Towards the end of the book, Norah is in Paris remembering studying Van Gogh's Starry Night, too bad Starry Night has been in the permanent collection at MoMA in NYC since 1941. On pg 337 the Seine is described as moving "darkly, silently", but on the very next page Norah is unable to speak above the sound of the river. I could go on, but I won't (unlike the book).


Karen Addington I am impressed that Alice picked up on so many details that needed correcting in this novel. I have never read a book with the intent of finding errors - usually get in the story and into an imaginary place to dream and, okay, escape reality. But, next time I might try reading to find errors. A new mental challenge so long as the task doesn't ruin my love for reading. And, by the way, although it has been a couple of years since I read this book, I did find that I could be curious and entranced by a story even though I might not have loved all the characters in it.


message 33: by Kara (new) - rated it 1 star

Kara Ripley I read the book about 6 months ago. I felt it was kinda ridiculous because so many families have lost children and they are not effected in this way. It seemed that the father was good a hiding the daughter so I don't know why the wife acted the way she did without knowing any gruesome details. I did enjoy reading it because it is an interesting premise but it ended so poorly and it had such hype.


Geraldine I just finished this book. I'm not really sure how I feel about it-and I agree with a lot of the comments here-the ending was lacking, characters not quite likable, etc. I also agree that I don't have to like characters or have a happy story to enjoy a book. While I definitely understand that the characters were all living life with the repercussions of the original lie, I found it difficult to connect with them. David was the most real to me, but perhaps that is because so much focus was placed on him, and his interactions with others while knowing the truth of what he had done-how HIS actions affected those around him. Norah, Caroline, Paul, Bree, and all the other characters seemed shadows that weren't fully developed-or maybe it's simply difficult to see the world from the perspective of a character who does not know the truth, while the reader does? I don't know. But I was disappointed with the ending, and felt like killing off David was "the easy way out." The characters of Norah, Paul, and Caroline were not strong enough throughout the book to hold my interest in the end. Plus I was frustrated that David wasn't there to defend himself. But-that's very much like life, I suppose. He died and was never able to explain the choices he made.


message 35: by Jane (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jane Mettee I found it entertaining. I liked that Caroline saved the child from life in an institution, even if it was partially for selfish reasons. It shows what a treasure these special children are..not a life to hide or throw away. Caroline devoted her life to Pheobe and made sure she had the best. It shows what parents went through a few years ago to get an education for a specials needs child. Now days we take for granted that they will have these opportunities.
David did not show any interest in getting the child back so I think this informal adoption worked.


message 36: by Penny (last edited Nov 30, 2012 09:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Penny Karen wrote: "I am impressed that Alice picked up on so many details that needed correcting in this novel. I have never read a book with the intent of finding errors - usually get in the story and into an imagi..."

Yes I think you are right there Karen, I can't say I really find that many incorrect details when reading a book! Now and again the odd word that shouldn't be there or a spelling mistake, but it would really spoil things for me trying to spot them!!!
I am usually reading to enjoy the story!!


Marion Stein I read it but wanted to slam it through a window when done. I thought it was a bunch of hooey.


Marilyn Slagel I read this book before writing my own. I enjoyed it then. Reading through this thread made me realize just how differently I "read" now. It's much more glaring when inconsistencies or errors pop up. Before, it was all about "how does this story grab me, do I get engrossed in it, etc."


Michael Jenkins This is easily one of the best novels I read. Full of depth, emotion and it makes you think about what you would have done. I love how the story progressed, it made me cry towards the end.


message 40: by Tash (new) - rated it 1 star

Tash Dahling I could not make myself finish this book. Just awful.


message 41: by Leah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leah Coleman I really enjoyed this book. it has been a good few years since ive read it but i remember being quite engrossed in and quite upset at what david had done-although not really judgemental becuse ironically enough i did feel some sympathy towards him. A whole different way of living back then and people in general were most likely not very accepting of anyone or anthing that ws different. That being said I don't agree at all with his decision-but it seems to me it was by no means an easy one. Enjoyable thought-provoking read.


Marilyn Slagel Michael, I agree with you. Very emotional story. Leah, I agree his decision was difficult and not one I could have made.


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