Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

10441On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

I was heavily intrigued by this book, I remember seeing a small part of the movie version of this a long time ago. But what really got me is the down syndrome angle of this book. I have two brothers with down syndrome and so I wanted to see what turns this book took and how different life for someone with down syndrome differs from the present to the 1960's. As for the actual story line, I wasn't super impressed with it. It seemed like hard to believe story at first, that someone would actually do that. And I later found out this is based in part on a true story. Also I started to hate David as I got farther along in the book. I became more and more angry that some grown man could tell his own wife about what he had done. Over all it was a decent book, just kind of boring and at points repetitive and that made it sometimes hard to get through. I only gave it a 3 stars.

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