J's Reviews > The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
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really liked it
bookshelves: american-fiction, davenport-discussion, human-nature

In Physics, there is a phenomenon called the "Butterfly Effect." - it is a means of acknowledging how everything is interrelated by demonstrating how a seemingly inconsequential event of a butterfly flapping its wings in China can influence a hurricane on the other side of the planet.

In a sentence, I see this story as an exploration of cause and effect; it is a "Butterfly flapping its wings in China" kind of story. It is a story about doing the 'right' thing without fully understanding that our decisions are reactive and highly focused upon where we are in our respective life paths.

Edwards reminds us that what we consider to be 'right' usually makes sense, and only to us. The Memory keepers Daughter is character study that explores how we go about defining 'rightness' from our own limited frame of reference. Since our motivations derive their impetus from life experience - and each experience is highly individualized, we are continually at risk of losing the ability to understand how our right to exist is continually at odds with others' right to exist as well.

Self-perception is shaped by our personal exposure to death, poverty, shame. To a person, we have all felt an incessant need to shake our fists at the universe, and how we go about this self-assertion will undoubtedly have an impact on everything and everyone around us. In short, when life is first-person subjective, we fail to grasp the far-reaching consequences attached to spur of the moment decisions.

Edwards' story reminds us all that there are a myriad of reasons why we do what we do, and explores how we go about making up our minds. She explores how our actions can be motivated by doing what we consider right - often oblivious to how our actions impact the rest of the world.

For me the ultimate irony lies in Phoebe's perspective; so innocent yet focused, and far more genuine than any other character.


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