Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Memory Keeper's Daughter” as Want to Read:
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  575,876 ratings  ·  19,619 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 June 23rd 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Memory Keeper's Daughter, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Life of Pi by Yann MartelThe Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. TolkienWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëCity of Bones by Cassandra ClareEragon by Christopher Paolini
What To Read Next
13,592 books — 22,545 voters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Best Books of the Decade: 2000s
6,872 books — 28,330 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  575,876 ratings  ·  19,619 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Tracy Rhodes
Mar 23, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Tracy by: online book club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Housewives and Oprah fans.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 16, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
This is a wonderfully unique story. Ms. Edwards creates characters very real and situations that are effectively believable. After delivering his wife's first child, while she is unaware of what is happening, he delivers another child, this one with Down's syndrome. He makes a quick decision to spare his wife the heartbreak of raising this child and asks his nurse to place the child in an institution. The nurse takes the infant but raises it on her own.

There is always something not quite right a
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a novel by American author Kim Edwards that tells the story of a man who gives away his newborn daughter, who has Down syndrome, to one of the nurses. Published by Viking Press in June 2005.

In early March of 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced to deliver his wife Norah's twins with the help of a nurse, Caroline Gill. Their first child, a boy they name Paul, is born a healthy perfect child, but when the second baby is born, Pho
Jun 03, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
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
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Lisette Brodey
Jan 28, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own, family-saga
The Memory Keeper's Daughter crept up on me in a way I never expected. After reading many conflicting reviews I assumed I would either DNF this book at worst or slap 3 stars on it at best.

In 1964, Dr. David Henry delivers his own twins. His son is perfectly healthy. His daughter is born with Down's Syndrome. Remembering his own sickly sister who died young, and the unending sorrow it caused for his mother, he is determined to protect his wife from the same heartache. He asks his nurse to take th
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was ok

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
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
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.
Wow... This book was heavy. I listened to this in my car, so it stretched out for a while, and I got to think on it and talk about it a LOT. The narrator: Martha Plimpton (I guess there is also a version narrated by someone else), did a phenomenal book. She brought this book to life in an amazing way. 3 different accents AND two characters with down syndrome is impressive.

These two separate families, each with a twin, told in chronological order from before birth. The life difficulties and joys
Richard Derus
Jun 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
Children being treated like meat puppets, disabled children being lesser, unwanted, cheating spouses and gawdlike doctors...spare me.

Very mawkish writing, quite clearly aiming to Be Emotional and Send A Message:
You can't stop time. You can't capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.
She imagined herself as some sort of vessel to be filled up with love. But it wasn't like that. The love was within her all the time, and its only renewal came from giving it away.

Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
After reading the description for this book I hadn't expected to feel any sympathy for the husband, but I did. It was interesting to find myself feeling a great deal of compassion for someone who made a decision that I find absolutely appalling. Telling your wife that one of the twins has died, rather than telling her she had Down's syndrome is something I can never really condone, even in a fictional scenario. It's such a mind-boggling lie to tell anyone, let alone your spouse. Thankfully the
May 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: read_2007
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. ...more
Nola Redd
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I highly enjoyed this novel. Reading some of the more negative reviews, I would have to disagree about the plot needing to be more exciting or the lack of depth in the characters. I believe that was the point of the novel entirely, we cannot label the doctor who gave away his child as "bad" because his troubled past was revealed and he was genuinely trying to do good, and it was clearly unfolding throughout the progression of the story that he began to regret his once-confident choice, but felt ...more
Nov 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-despise
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It's the first paperback I've read this year and also my first book that I've read and isn't MM this year. I planned on reading only MM books in 2019, but a coworker borrowed it to me saying it's a great one. Unfortunately it wasn't a great story for me. Maybe because I had high expectations? I don't know. But what I do know is that I am NOT a fan of this author's writing and that this #1 New York Times Bestseller didn't work for me. It ended being only an OK read, but nothing more.
The blurb is
Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

A well-written and very emotional read. It took me a little longer than usual to get into the book. I did find it could be overly detailed at times that weren't especially important to the story. I would find myself easily distracted by other things going on around me. I am usually able to tune everything out when I am into a really good book. I will say that this wasn't the case very often but it was something I noticed.

There was a lot of emotion along with many shocking and dramatic
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa Dunckley
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it
A well written and sadly beautiful book—but unsatisfying.

A blizzard causes Dr David Henry to have to deliver his own twin children. His son is beautiful and healthy, but the unexpected twin shows all the signs of Down Syndrome. At this point in history (1964), children with Down Syndrome didn't live long, were an embarrassment, and were frequently abandoned or sent to live their short lives in institutions.

So David sends his loyal nurse Caroline to take the child to an appropriate facility and
MissBecka Gee

This book was tedious.
Joy D
In Kentucky, 1964, Norah Henry goes into labor during a blizzard. Unable to reach the hospital, her husband, Dr. David Henry, must deliver his wife’s twins, a boy and girl, at his own clinic. The boy is healthy, but the girl has Down’s Syndrome. Dr. Henry, having lost his sister at a young age due to a similar condition, hands the girl to his nurse, and tells her to take the infant to an institution. He tells his wife the girl has died. The nurse takes the child but is unable to leave her at the ...more
Oct 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
It was soooo depressing and a waste of my time. I'll never attempt to read another book that I hate after the first chapter. I read it through and was feeling so annoyed at the story line and the melancholy of it all. I just didn't enjoy any of it. The husband makes a choice and thinks about it every freaking second of every minute!!! It wasn't my thing. Read and see for yourselves. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2021 Reading Chal...: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Memory Keeper's Daughter 14 48 Jun 20, 2021 01:59PM  
September Reading Assignment 4 18 Apr 21, 2021 03:13AM  
Things You Can Do To Improve Your Memory 1 8 Apr 13, 2021 12:14AM  
Play Book Tag: [Poll Ballot] The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - 3 stars 6 15 Jun 12, 2020 09:28AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • My Sister's Keeper
  • The Secret Life of Bees
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Water for Elephants
  • The Lovely Bones
  • The Time Traveler's Wife
  • The Joy Luck Club
  • Where the Heart Is
  • The Help
  • She's Come Undone
  • Room
  • Sarah's Key
  • A Million Little Pieces
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • The Glass Castle
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • The Kite Runner
  • The Red Tent
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Related Articles

A clue in a stained-glass window leads to a startling secret kept hidden for generations in The Lake of Dreams, a new novel from the author of The...
6 likes · 5 comments
“Photography is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell.” 336 likes
“You can't stop time. You can't capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.” 207 likes
More quotes…