I wasn’t sure whether to even write about this one as it wasn’t the best thing I've ever read but just because I didn't fully love it, doesn't mean you won't! I don’t think it was the storyline itself that I disliked, I think it was the writing style, Edwards is very descriptive in her writing and can take a page to describe a single moment that may have only needed a few sentences…but I'm not an author so what do I know?
But, the more I got into the storyline the more I wanted to keep going so I think you’ll enjoy hearing about this one.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is all about the Henry family; David, Norah, and their son Paul. David is an accomplished doctor who sets out each day to make a difference in his small town in Kentucky, when his wife Norah becomes pregnant and they find out its twins they’re overjoyed! But on the stormy night of the birth, David delivers one healthy baby (Paul), and the second twin, a girl is born with Down Syndrome, in this day and age we don’t think much of this, Down Syndrome is a pretty well known about condition and people born with it go on to lead independent and accomplished lives most of the time. But in the 1960s this is a very different story, David is horrified to see his newborn daughter isn't “perfect” and worries that she’ll grow up with a number of health complications and die at a young age, so he takes her into another room and tells his nurse Caroline to take the baby to an institution far away where she can be properly looked after, this decision means he goes back to his wife, lies and breaks the news to Norah that their daughter has died.
On goes the story of 5 people and how that one night will go on to shape the rest of their lives, safe to say that Caroline never does give the baby girl (Phoebe) to an institution, she takes the girl home and cares for her herself until the times comes to share this big secret not just with Norah but with Paul too.
I loved learning about how Phoebe sees the world, how she loves order, likes to know where she’s going and when she’ll come back and how deeply in love she becomes as she gets older.
As I say, I don’t think The Memory Keeper’s Daughter was necessarily for me, but I really enjoyed touching on a subject I‘d never looked into before and seeing how Down Syndrome can affect (or not) both an individual’s life and that of the family and friends around them, this was both a heartwarming and devastating book to read as you follow the lives of these people and watch the ebb and flow between almost meeting and falling apart again.
This is the beauty of buying books second-hand from places like charity shops, I walk in knowing I want a certain number of books but never knowing exactly what I’m gonna get, in one charity shop I picked up this book, a rom-com novel, and a couple of horror novels, all of which I've written about and enjoyed. I know the virus is making it pretty much impossible to go into a charity shop and just mooch around like we used to but if you’re ever able to just take £5 into a charity shop and see how many great books you’ll find, not only are you doing your bit for charity and the environment by buying second-hand you’re also allowing yourself into world’s you didn't even know existed!
If you want a super descriptive and honest book about the joys and implications of Down Syndrome on one child and her surrounding family then try and scout out this one!