Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Kim Edwards’ stunning family drama evokes the spirit of Sue Miller and Alice Sebold, articulating every mother’s silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? In 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins, he immediately recognizes that one of them has Down Syndrome and makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and to keep her birth a secret. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own. Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.

My review: 3 stars
This was a bit heart-wrenching in that it probably really happened in the 1960s and before. Children with Downs Syndrome were often just thrown away, whereas now they are simply aborted. It is a strong statement in the book that, in our desire to create perfect lives, we so very often rid ourselves of the things that would make them that way. The struggles in the family that gave up the child, as well as the struggles of the family that raised her, were very real. However, there was a bit of, what I felt was, contrived struggle (like the affairs) and some things that were just ridiculous (like a 25 year old having gray hair). Other than those very few things, it was a fairly good book.

From Wikipedia: A made-for-television movie premiered on Lifetime Television on April 12, 2008. The film's cast includes Dermot Mulroney as David, Gretchen Mol as Norah, and Emily Watson as Caroline. The adolescent and adult Phoebe is played by Krystal Hope Nausbaum, an actress with Down syndrome. The movie dispenses with characters Doro and her father Leo as well as Rosemary and her son Jack.

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