The Memory Keepers Daughter Review

By Issy Goode - 14:25

At the start of summer I read The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. Honestly, I was sucked in right away. The plot is the main thing that makes you want to read it and read on, you want to know how everything turns out, if the separate families collide and whether reunions are happy or cataclysmic. The story is one of huge intrigue, a young doctor is left the decision of bringing up his mentally and physically able son with his female twin, a girl born with down syndrome or to send her in the arms of a young nurse to a special home and bring up the boy as an only children. The decision he makes causes the family to tumble into a world unknown, of sadness, infidelity, denial, secrets and an overall melancholy life for all but the little girl whom the young doctor - David Henry - didn't believe would survive.

As the story progresses you desperately want Doctor Henry to tell the secret, fix the family, but you also question how his wife Norah and son Paul would react to the news of a living daughter and sister, cared for by a humble nurse who just wanted to protect a rejected child who was up against the world right from her entrance into the 1960s society. The two sides to the book follow the life of the Henry's alongside the Gill's, with some intertwining of experiences and events through letters and unexpected meetings and most importantly, the lie of one man that bore the situation both families were created by. The contrast of their lives is what makes the book thrive, the girl believed to have a life not worth living is the happiest person throughout almost the entirety of the book, which is refreshing to read. Also, the decision David makes causes his and Norah's happy marriage to have a disastrous string of events dragging Paul down with them but it brings hope and happiness to the life of Caroline Gill and young Phoebe. Edwards use of irony is quite apparent - David gave Phoebe away to protect his wife from the pain that he had seen his mother experience, but caused more pain for the three of them then he could never have predicted.

The entrance of other characters throughout the story keeps it alive and refreshes the plot, such as Bree, Al, Rosemary, Jack and Robert. All of these characters are significant in their own way and make the story feel very real. The moral question of how down syndrome people should be treated in society is rife throughout Caroline's life as she brings Phoebe up, which is interesting to follow from her perspective as she fights for her daughters education, this also highlights how dislikeable David is as a character due to his decision to not even give the little girl a chance.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this book. It's a fantastic read, the story doesn't become boring and you can't tire of the plot, it flows perfectly and you always know what stage in the families and children's lives you're at. You'll enjoy the blossoming of one family, whilst sympathise with and become slightly frustrated by a family that was destined to fall apart as soon as David had caused a single crack.

If you're not up for reading the book, the films on television right now on 5 USA. I've never seen it before, but I would definitely recommend the book!

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  1. I think you should watch the film aswell, and do a film/book review to go along with this!

    Compair and contrast the diffrences between the book and the film =]

  2. I watched the film today and had to turn it over. I was disappointed with how much the film had cut out, it was like in Lord of The Rings when Tom Bombadil doesn't make an appearance in the first film. I would compare and contrast the differences, but I couldn't tolerate the way in which the film had been made, I can understand the difficulty the producers would have had with the time transitions that Edwards made so easy in writing, but I just couldn't enjoy the hour of the film I watched, therefore I don't believe I could do a good compare and contrast of the two.

    But it's a good idea, maybe I'll do it with another film and book, that doesn't have quite so much change in it, the part of the film I watched felt as if it was losing it's way whereas the book was a fantastic read.

  3. Did the writer have any input into the making of the film? Or did it feel like a quick cash grab on her behalf? or maybe as if they hadn't even read the book?

    I highly recomend the film and book Battle Royale for this purpus. And mainly because it is an increadble book and film

  4. 'Anonymous', I just said that last question to you on fb! I don't actually know if Edwards had any input, I'd like to believe it wasn't quick cash because I think the book is more than just a tale, I think it has an important message too, or maybe I'm reading too far into it!

    You know I love that film! I haven't read the book, but I shall and then I'll do a compare and contrast review with that just for you! It is indeed incredible!


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