Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I'm still not sure how I feel about this book...The Memory Keeper's Daughter.  I wouldn't say it was bad, but I wouldn't say it was good either.  The premise is good, but in a story like this I'm not sure there is a good way to finish it without a sad ending.

Dr. David Henry is driving his pregnant wife, Norah, to the hospital on the night of an intense blizzard.  Caroline Gill, Henry's nurse, meets them at the hospital where David is forced to deliver his own children.  Norah gives birth to healthy twins and while Norah is lucid as her son is born, when her much smaller, weaker daughter is born the drugs have already started to drift Norah in and out of consciousness.  David notices immediately that his daughter has Downs Syndrome...and makes a life-changing decision based upon his childhood growing up with a sister with Downs Syndrome. 

David's own family was torn apart when his sister died young, therefore he thinks that his wife would be better off never knowing the true fate of their daughter.  He asks Caroline to take his daughter away to an institution for such special needs persons and then proceeds to tell his wife that Phoebe, their daughter, was stillborn...a blue baby.

Caroline follows Dr. Henry's instructions at first...until she gets to the facility.  It's awful; there's no way she could leave this sweet baby girl in such a place!  So, Caroline makes the decision to run away and raise the child on her own.

The rest of this novel details the effects that David Henry's decision makes on everyone's lives.

The main question that I think this novel asks is Norah's predicament:

Is it worse to lose a child at birth


to have a special needs child?

Which would you think is harder?  I think the answer to this question depends upon who you ask and can vary based upon that person's circumstances.  Regardless, I think this should have definitely been a choice Norah Henry was offered.  Everyone in this novel's life would have been dramatically different if Norah had been given a choice.

The Lifetime channel made this book into a television movie.  I have it recorded on my DVR and intend to watch it soon.  If you want to know what happens and don't necessarily want to read the book, check the Lifetime website and you can find out when the next showing is.  Here's the preview:

Now, back to the actual book...would I recommend it?  I don't I said at the beginning of this review, this book left me feeling unsure.  This is definitely one of those topics that is very hard.  Have you read this book?  What are your thoughts?  If you haven't and decide to read it...let me know.  I'm still a little "hung in the balance."

1 comment:

  1. I've not read the book, but I've seen the movie and it doesn't leave with a warm fuzzy either. It just leaves you...that is all there is to it.



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