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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.

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