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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

In the novel The Memory Keeper's Daughter, written by Kim Edwards, physician David Henry makes an impulsive and fateful decision that affects the psychological well-being of two families; his and another.
After he performs an emergency delivery of twins from his wife Norah during a blizzard, Dr. Henry discovers that while his son Paul is a healthy baby, the daughter Phoebe has Down syndrome. Fearing that the child will have heart problems, die young, and cause heartache for his wife, Henry asks his nurse Caroline to bring the daughter to an institution. He tells Norah that their daughter has died. However, Caroline decides not to abandon Phoebe and instead moves to another city to raise her as her daughter.
As the years pass, Norah continues to mourn the "loss" of her daughter; the suppression of this lie leads to the deterioration of the Henry's marriage and family life. Phoebe, on the other hand, thrives under Caroline's care and grows to reach her full potential.
The remainder of this book describes how this state of affairs is resolved, allowing each of its players some inner peace. The novel's finely drawn characters and realistic emotional expression make this a worthwhile reading experience.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog

Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog, written by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan, is a memoir based on John and Jenny Grogan's often hysterical yet heartwarming adventures with their 97-pound Golden Labrador Retriever. Impulsively purchased when the couple was newly married so that they could practice their parenting skills before having children, the Grogans unknowingly selected a dog whose neurotic traits made it difficult to control him. While obedience training eventually took hold (somewhat), the family, including the three children who arrived in due course, valued Marley for his fierce loyalty and his joie de vivre. A film based on this book is in the works and is scheduled for release on Christmas 2008.