The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by kim edwards, finished reading on 27th November 2012
“This stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down’s syndrome. For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own. Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a brilliantly crafted story of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love.”
Warning…gonna be a long one.
Words sway with you in its complete elegance. Paragraphs whirl around you with an enchanting aura. But the moment the book is over, only this brilliant portrayal stays with you, Not the story.
Story begins on a winter night and initial chapters delude the reader with a unstated promise of an awesome story. You will be mesmerized by the play of words but at the end you can not help feeling dejected at the story line which never fulfilled the promised redemptive power of love.
Dr Henry with his unresolved issues of childhood is a monotonous character. Set in the backdrop of emerging strong feministic views of society, Norah and Bree, represents two contradictory sketches who struggles to maintain their identity during uncertain times.
“I hate that more than anything – being part of a cliché” Aptly applicable to the Sisters Norah and Bree.
Another character, Caroline Gill, who struck me as an odd wheel like the untimely snow, gears up and gains momentum as the story progresses. With the final dialogue of “All this years I have believed in my own innocence…”,
She stands out from the rest for me.
The moment when Phoebe grabs the medallion, it is on of the most lovable scenes of the book. I loved it. Norah’s journeys to her old house and its memories were kind of shallow but the way author coined in the term “memory keeper”
for the camera during that journey is imaginative. More than once I had a strong urge to yell at Norah to’ move on’ in the beginning.
I really loved the authors way of depicting Down syndrome in a natural way without any embellishments but at the same time pausing many unanswered questions in front of us. A mothers anguish and struggles against Down Syndrome, her need to balance out the sympathy and love – Brilliant and balanced portrayal I would say. Thumbs up for the empathy with a slight detachment.
David and Norah – Their relationship move like a river, calm and serene above but underlying currents threaten to rock the symmetry all the time. Norah terrified at the thought of being ‘objectified’
seeking avenues to become the ‘subject’
of someone’s life – I loved this concept. Author has penned it down very well.
The book boasts of aesthetic way of story telling with symbolically designed scenes. The omnipresence of seasons from winter to spring, the symbolic dropping of middle name of Dr Henry, symbolic depiction of liberation by Rosemary “You are free”, Bree –sofa-light-colors-of-love analogy of different perceptions – With such numerous well meditated scenes, The book is no less than a classic. Every scene is a like a vividly taken photograph with pulsating emotions. Those scenes beaded to make a touching story.
But from the middle author starts deviating and loose the grip on the story. What were we promised? – redemptive power of love? Author started with a strong theme and it took off well. But after some time it strayed and I felt the power of love was never played a bigger role. Story went on as per norm and it covered normal circumstances with no intervention of love.
With just the three central characters, the story was strong enough and there was no need of ‘Rosemary’ chapter. It was completely redundant in my opinion. Much awaited confrontations lacked punch and the truth revelations frizzed out much. Thumbs down for the way author handled the story at the end.
I am going with a 3.5 for this book.