March 31, 2012

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards opens on a cold snowy night in 1960s when a doctor and his wife are expecting their first child. And, it moves through 25 odd years in the lives of all those around this family and their children.

The doctor finds out they are having twins, but he decides to give away a child, a girl, who has Down's syndrome, and keep only his son. He himself had a sister who had a heart condition and he knew the difficulty he faced while growing up. He did not wish the same for his son. A understandable reason? But, he was not prepared for the turmoil this would unfold in his else peaceful, happy life.

He lies to his wife that their daughter died, and she grieves but he is unable to even look her in the eye and cry for their loss. She grows distant, she does not understand him, she starts to have affairs, she  starts to seek freedom.

He immerses himself in his work and photography. He almost distances himself from his wife and does not want another child, in the fear of another daughter with Down's Syndrome. Their son is a silent observer to all that passes between his parents and as we see he is affected in his own way.

The story brings out the helplessness experienced by the nurse to whom the doctor hands over his new born daughter, how a relationship is completely broken apart with a secret always standing between the doctor and his wife.

Personally, I felt it also portrayed copious amount of courage from the doctor's wife in dealing with her grief. In spite of the topic being completely pushed under the carpet by her husband, she learnt to carry her daughter who she assumed to be dead, with her all through her living years.

The story moves through the years of the twins, living completely different lives and how one man's decision for the better of all did not after all work out, or maybe that was how things were meant to be.

Image courtesy: MemoryKeepersDaughter.jpg


  1. hmmmmmmmmmm thinking what to make of it ..


  2. That is really sad - grieving over the death of a child who is still alive- what could be sadder?


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