Monday, June 04, 2007

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I finished reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards last Sunday night. So many good reviews have been written about the book so I don’t think you need another one by me. LOL. However, I do want to say that this is a wonderful read, I can’t put it down and I kept thinking about the main characters: David, Norah, Caroline and Phoebe.

I wonder how I would deal with such a situation, if it were to happen to me. Norah gave birth to a set of twins – a boy named Paul and a girl named Phoebe. The sad thing is that Phoebe has Down’s Syndrome and David, the father and also doctor who handled the birth decided at that instance to give Phoebe away. In the 1960s, people do not yet know how to deal with the infirmity. That one decision changed their lives, including Caroline's (the nurse who helped during the birth).

As I read it, I tried to get into David’s skin, imagining how he had lived with that dark secret and guilt all his life. I wondered how all this while, Norah had mourned for the loss of her daughter, Phoebe – the baby she never got to see and touch. Died at birth, according to David. Then, there is Caroline who was given the burden of task to deliver Phoebe to an institution by David’s order. I thought if I were Caroline, how would I feel at that very moment – this adorable baby, normal looking to untrained eyes, thrusted to me to be sent to an institution and I was left to face with my own moral dilemma.

It is a gripping story. I think I can understand why David did what he did. He thought he was doing the right thing. What he didn’t know is that, his decision deeply affected the people he loved many years down the road. What Kim Edwards has created here is a story that feels so real, full of the complexity of human emotions stripped bare. I would re-read this.

Please also check out Melody's great review at her blog.