Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

This book is a few years old, so I'm sure at least one of you have possibly read it. If you have read it, I would love to know your thoughts. This one would've been great to read as a group because it is SO thought provoking.

In case you've never heard of this story, the basis is this... It's about Dr. David Henry and his wife, Norah. The book begins with her at the very end of her pregnancy in 1964 ( I loved that it was in 1964, because that's the year that The Help ended with, so I was still in that same frame of mind) and she goes into labor during a horrible blizzard. Well, being that it was 1964, she didn't know anything really about the baby she was carrying. And also, with the weather being what it was, her husband couldn't make it to the hospital for her to deliver, he had to go to his office, which was very near their house. His nurse made it in to help with the delivery, but her OB went into a ditch on the way there, so David ended up having to do the birthing himself. Well, also, in those days, they used gas to put the woman under so she wouldn't have to experience the awful pain of childbirth. The birth went fine and they had a perfect sweet little boy. Well, David was awaiting the afterbirth and the contractions got very intense again, and he realized that there was another baby coming. The second baby was a little girl and she had Down's Syndrome. His wife was still under and David made the decision to have his nurse take this baby to an institution thinking he was saving his family the pain of this child possibly having all kinds of health problems, which could lead to an early death. When Norah came to, he told her the second baby had died.

This book is about how this horrible secret tore at their lives and also about the nurse, Caroline, and this little girl, Phoebe.

It is so heart wrenching and such a worthy read.

There is only one thing I wish she had written differently, but honestly, if she had, it probably would've added another two to three hundred pages to this book and it's already a 400 pg book, so it's probably best that she took the story where she did. :)

I highly recommend it! :)


  1. I haven't even heard of that book before. I think I'd be just as absorbed in this book as the other :)
    It sounds heart wrenching.
    In 1964 my own grandmother was told she was carrying twins for sure, but there was a high probability that there were triplets. After she had woken up after the birth there was only one baby there. The doctor told her the other baby didn't survive. She KNEW that the doctor stole at least one of her children, if not two. She's always been searching faces of people my uncle's age ever since.
    I think this book would certainly be an interesting read.

  2. I read this book a few years ago. It was such a good book, it was another one of those I couldn't put down once I started. I can't believe how people with down syndrome were viewed back then. It was so heart breaking to read. They made this book into a Lifetime movie with the guy from My Best Friends Wedding (I can't remember his name). I was so looked forward to the movie, I thought it was horrible though and couldn't finish watching it.

    OMG, Breezi how terrible for your grandmother. That's so sad that those are one of those things she will never get an answer for.

  3. Breezi!!! You have to read this book, then. I can't believe that story. Your poor, poor grandmother! That just makes me so sad. Thank goodness they don't put us to sleep during delivery these days, it would be very hard for something like that to happen these days. If you read it, you'll have to let me know what you think.

    And Tempie... I had no idea it was a movie, but I've had this book on my shelf for a few years. I don't know why it's taken me so long to get to it. I have a bad habit of doing that. I'll buy a few books at a time and then I'll get sidetracked, or find something I really want to read otherwise.. I organized my books the other night and discovered that there are over FIFTY books in this house that I have yet to read! So, part of my goal this year is to get those books read! :)

  4. Candace, did you just read this AFTER "The Help"? You are way too speedy for me :) I think the Kindle would be perfect for burn through the books!

    And I can't believe that story, Breezi! How sad and creepy all at the same time. Your poor grandmother. I couldn't imagine walking around thinking that for the rest of my life :(

    I think I did read this book awhile back too. I'm pretty sure I liked it.

  5. Haha! Yes, I read this after "The Help"! I read constantly, girl.... stop lights, drive-thrus... I was telling Heather earlier that I read all day long. What I do is read a chapter.... start a load of laundry... read a chapter... start dinner... read a chapter... make lunch... read a chapter... do dishes... I read a chapter in between each household chore and that way, I get my housework done and I get to read!!! :)

  6. Candace, I was so surprised to see the cover of this book, because it's sitting on my nightstand -- next in line -- at this very moment! (Perhaps we're seperated twins?!?) I've been looking foward to reading it, but I know it will be a heartsting tuggger too...

    Breezi, I can't imagine how that must have been haunting you grandmother for all these years. I'm so sorry.

  7. You have a line-up on your nightstand too??? I currently have about 5 books stacked on my nightstand. I really think we were seperated at birth... only you're a year younger than me! lol ;) Let me know what you think of it while you're reading it! And are you reading "The Help" right now? If so, do you LOVE IT????

  8. Candace, I am right there with you. I have 50-60 books on my shelf that I haven't read yet. My downfall is the bargin section at Barnes & Noble, who doesn't want to buy a hardback book for only $5. The other problem is Amazon when I buy a book I need but I want the free shipping so I need to bring my total to $25. I'm not even going to say I will try to get all those books read, some of them have been on that shelf for 6 years now.....if only there was more time in the day. :)

  9. Thank goodness it's not just me! :) I have been collecting these books for years and years as well and a lot of them are books that I've started but put down for one reason or another, so I know I won't read them ALL, but I"m going to give it a shot anyway. :) And do you know that one of the books that's on there is Stephen King's "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" and my mom bought that one for me when I was in 5th grade when I was stuck in bed with the chicken pox! And I still haven't read it!! LOL... I'm not too big on short stories, though..

  10. I just finished this book this morning. It seriously made me want to hug my children a little closer before I put them to bed last night. The "what if" factor to this story is so broad! Any of the characters chould have changed just one moment and the whole story would have shifted. David really did what he thought would be the best for his whole family, but in the end it just tore them all apart. I can't believe he never told them before he died! Kudos to Caroline... eventually! Great read!

  11. Alynn, when... whichever chapter it was... started with David having died on his run, my heart sank. I felt so cheated that he hadn't gotten to tell Norah and Paul about Phoebe. I'm so glad that they ended up meeting her anyway, thanks to Caroline, but gosh...

    So much about this story just completely broke my heart. But I still thought it was an amazing read!


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