The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Kim Edwards

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Format: Paperback | 401 pages
  • Dimensions: 106mm x 178mm x 42mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 10 November 2006
  • ISBN 10: 0143038133
  • ISBN 13: 9780143038139
  • Sales rank: 15,356

Product description

A #1 New York Times bestseller by Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a brilliantly crafted novel of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love Kim Edwards’s stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964 in Lexington, Kentucky, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down 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, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told 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 winter night long ago. A family drama, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter explores every mother's silent fear: What would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? It is also an astonishing tale of love and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that occurs when long-buried secrets are finally uncovered.

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Author information

Kim Edwards is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, which was translated into thirty-eight languages.  She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The Lake of Dreams, and a collection of short stories, The Secrets of a Fire King.  Her honors include the Whiting Award, the British Book Award, and USA Today’s Book of the Year, as well as the Nelson Algren Award, a National Magazine Award, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has taught widely in the US and Asia, and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Customer reviews

By Lily 08 Oct 2013 3

The Memory Keeper's Daughter was my Random Read pick for August on my blog. I was excited to read it because I do recall adding it to my list because it sounded full of controversy and drama. And in that regard, it did not disappoint.

On one very stormy night, Dr. David Henry finds himself delivering his laboring wife at his office. A little boy slips into the world; seemingly perfect and healthy. David is thrilled, until his son's twin, a little girl comes into the world too. Immediately, David knows something isn't right. In shock, and not knowing what to do, he makes an impulse decision to give his baby girl to his nurse, Caroline, and asks her to bring the girl to an institution for the mentally challenged and decides to tell his wife that the girl died at birth. Caroline, though, makes a split decision of her own.

Two split decisions made in a matter of seconds in each mind changes their lives forever.

Lives that now are shaped by truth made up of lies. What is it like to live with such a life altering secret? How heavy is the burden you carry with you; lies piling on lies to keep the biggest lie of all as the truth?

How will it consume you? Affect those around you? Do you wonder until the day that you take your last breath, how life would have been had the choices been different? Would you take it all back if you could?

All this and more is explored in this novel. Very mellow and slow pace for the majority of it, and it did take me a couple of extra days to get through it than usual. But it was intriguing to read about the domino effect of split decisions, watching the direction that so many different relationships took because of it. It was sad, and yet.... it was real. Sometimes, what we think is a burden, is actually an amazing and enriching joy. Sometimes, protecting those we love with a lie, could destroy and change the same people that you wanted to protect.

By Oakley Condon 26 Feb 2013 5

A must read for everyone. Long but in no way boring.

Review quote

“The Memory Keeper’s Daughter unfolds from an absolutely mesmerizing premise, drawing you deeply and irrevocably into the entangled lives of two families and the devastating secret that shapes them both. I loved this riveting story with its intricate characters and beautiful language.” —Sue Monk Kidd “In The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Kim Edwards has created a tale of regret and redemption . . . of characters haunted by their past. Crafted with language so lovely you have to reread the passages just to be captivated all over again . . . simply a beautiful book.” —Jodi Picoult “Anyone would be struck by the extraordinary power and sympathy of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.” —The Washington Post “Edwards is a born novelist.” —Chicago Tribune