Kirsty's Reviews > The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
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's review
Jun 02, 2008

really liked it

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 grew up in the same class as a boy with Down's Syndrome, and although he was slower than the rest of us at learning (he'd been held back a year at school) he was one of the nicest people you could meet. I therefore found they way Phoebe was treated quite upsetting. I think that the writer did a very good job of putting across just how difficult it was to fight for the rights of a child with Down's Syndrome in those days.

I tried hard to like David, I really did, but after telling his wife initially that their daughter had died, he had lots of opportunities to come clean and redeem himself but he never did. I just couldn't forgive him for that.

I loved the descriptive style of the author's writing. I could imagine everything down to the smallest details and almost felt like I was there. Usually I'm not a fan of this much description, however I felt it worked really well in this book.

The characterisation in the book was wonderful. Whilst I may not have sympathised or liked all of the characters, they were all built up really well, so that you could at least understand them and their motives. They were by no means flat - in fact quite the opposite. David especially is a very complex character, who is constantly evolving throughout the book.

I liked how the story followed both sides separately... I felt that the interjection of Caroline and Phoebe's story gave a happier tone to an otherwise fairly depressing depiction of the Henry's journey. I felt that the story was a fair assessment of what the consequences of such a huge lie can mean to all of the people involved.

I enjoyed this book, and couldn't put it down, although I did feel that some of it was a little too coincidental and parts didn't make sense. Also Norah's story dragged on a bit too much for my liking. These are the reasons why it only has 4 stars.

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KateR Thanks for your review. Many others who have reviewed this book have been rather harsh. I just finished it today and while it wasn't my favorite book, I did appreciate the larger theme of how such an act can have so many unforeseen consequences. David was trying to save his wife and son from one kind of sadness and grief and instead created different kinds of sadness and isolation.

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