The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards was the ‘Bloggers Book Club’ book for October. When I first picked up the book I was immediately hooked. It tells the story of Norah who meets and marries David, a doctor. She is 11 years his junior and it feels like a very short courtship and their relationship doesn’t seem very deep.
She quickly falls pregnant and goes into labour during a snow storm. David tries to drive her to the hospital but doesn’t get any further than his surgery where he has arranged to meet his nurse who helps deliver the babies….you see it turned out Norah was having twins, although they didn’t seem to be aware of the fact. The first baby Paul is delivered, quickly followed by Phoebe. David quickly realises Phoebe has Down’s Syndrome and whisks her off into another room who he hands her to Caroline and tells her to bring Phoebe to an institution and leave her there.
I was horrified. How could anyone do that to their own daughter? He tells Norah that Phoebe is dead, which in turn killed their marriage…although they struggled on for years. Norah wasn’t able to grieve for her daughter, she was expected to carry on being a mother to Paul. This turned her to drink and other men and she became depressed.
David got a camera and shut himself away in the dark room for much of the time. Caroline was unable to leave Phoebe in the institution so moved away with her and became a live in nurse to an old man and his daughter (very far-fetched). David and Caroline sent each other letters on a regular basis and everything more or less ended up perfectly in Caroline’s world. No depth into what life is like coping with a disabled child.
After a while you understand that David had a sister of his own with Down’s Syndrome and he was very attached to her but she did when she was young. So I guess he was trying to save his family the heartache, in so, causing more problems.
The book was good at the beginning but really lost the plot for me. I wanted to know how Caroline coped, what problems did Phoebe have. I wanted to shake Norah and David, they had a son but couldn’t seem to care less about him. It was all very unbelievable at the end.
Here is the review of the book by Lorna where you can find the other members of the book club.
I lost interest in it half through too Val, the characters became less likeable and more self obsessed,. I preferred reading the ‘Caroline and Phoebe’ bits although neither of them seemed fully developed as characters.
Yes me too Lorna. Although there was so much more she could have written. I feel she doesn’t know anything about children with disabilities.
I read this book about two years ago and wrote a review at the time. I’m trying to dig out my original review. I remembering liking this book as the story was unusual. Hope all is good with you.