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The Memory Keeper's Daughter

by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards X
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 416 pages

    May 2006, 432 pages


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Page 4 of 5
There are currently 36 reader reviews for The Memory Keeper's Daughter
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Tried to believe
Edwards describes the surgeon as a brilliant and gifted doctor but I found myself trying very hard to understand why a a "brilliant" surgeon would be otherwise so cavalier as to give away a baby daughter he had only looked at for a moment. This was not believable. In addition, if he loved his wife as much as the author suggests he does, he wouldn't have been able to take the course of action he did in the name of love. I did find myself, however, enthralled with how the action he took affected the lives of so many others.
Anne O'Connor

Distractions Detract
This author describes how the premise of the story was given her by someone she respected. I really wanted this story to be credible because of encounters with stories that I have had myself.
There are tangents (Rosemary, Michelle, art shows and curators, Frederic, Bree) that add nothing and even trivialize the powerful theme of the rejection of a disabled child. There is perfectionism eating away at every character except Phoebe and I cannot help but think that the author projected this trait of our current culture on people of a different time.

Flat footed
This book has been terribly over rated. The writing is flat footed, for the most part the characters are one dimensional. The father and husband was better written than his wife and son. There was no purpose to include the sister Bree or the pregnant teen Rosemary, they added nothing to the story line.

Unimaginative Ending
I enjoyed this book through the half-way point. I agree with some of the other reviewers that there were some parts that were clumsy, but I was willing to go along with the story because I enjoyed the author's style. But the second half was just lazy writing. Spoiler alert: I guess the author didn't know what to do with her characters, so she killed off the father and married the mother to a guy from France. Give me a break!
Paula T.

Cardboard characters, one-note novel
I was so disappointed with this novel. The story, which should have made me feel so much emotion at this family's tragedy, left me cold. The characters were cardboard, not fully sketched out. The whole novel is one, long, drawn-out whine. There were also too many holes in the story line to be believable. I can understand David's wanting to give the child away in 1964, but: (1) how was it that it was so easy to get a gravesite for a child that didn't exist? (2) when Caroline tells David why she didn't put Phoebe into the institution because of its poor quality, it is not believable that he didn't take things into his own hands - to take the baby from her and either put the child into another institution, or decide to tell his wife and decide to raise the child. (3) there is never any discussion or mention of why David & Norah never have any other children - did they not want any more? could she not have any more children? Discussions about children - ALWAYS take place in every marriage and I think it's absence in the novel made the whole story of their marriage seem even more unrealistic. I wanted to like this novel, but I'm afraid it just irritated me.

Somethings Missing...
I did what I always do with movies and books…I will read it or see it through hoping it will get better.
I was so hopeful that MKD would be better written, developed and more believable and was disappointed to find it wasn’t. There were so many opportunities to make it better. The photography, bee stings, Caroline and Al, the many affairs of Norah, breast cancer, etc. were merely written, really just jotted down to pull you in. A good novelist would know how to do this in a connective and intriguing way. While not understanding how a brilliant and loving doctor and husband would give away his child so quickly, I still followed that premise in ernest because in 1964 Down syndrome was something to be hidden…but not so quickly and not for the reasons as to not upset his wife and his own childhood memories! I felt none of the characters were developed effectively to warrant gut wrenching sympathy. I did not like Paul being in constant anger mode with his father [edited to remove potential plot spoilers]. I saw my husband in both Al and David, myself in Bree and Norah and that was good but not enough and thought her style was weak in character development.

The reality of life being drawn out over 25 years was intriguing but poorly done in my opinion. The writing was difficult to follow as she starts chapters with information whose contents must be deciphered by the reader without the punch of drama and anticipation ..... I felt she was just putting pieces together to create a plausible story and not a novel.

Surprise read
I struggled with this story and the amateurish writing style. Basically I felt that I had overpaid for my entertainment. I took some time to go back and read other reviews to see if I was being too harsh but after reading 10 or 15 reviews, I was more steadfast in my opinion. There are so many great books written in the last decade that I hope more people will avoid this one and get a book with a plausible plot and characters that you can believe in.

Very Disappointing
The premise of the novel seemed a little shaky from the outset. There was no birth certificate or death certificate issued. Yet there seemed to be no problem registering the child for school or for any other service she needed . At the moment of birth, the father (doctor) makes an split second incredible decision to put the child away, although he could not have known just how severly or mildly the child was affected. It seemed a bit unrealistic to say the least. The characters appeared very wooden. And of course, when the nurse takes the child, she immediately meets the big hearted truck driver. Enough said!

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