Tuesday, March 06, 2007

#24.5 - The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards

I put this book at 24.5 because I only got through half of it. I was disappointed by this book, mainly because I had read good reviews and expected it to be great.
It wasn't.
For me, the story-line seemed contrived, and over the top melodramatic. The main characters were so flawed that I couldn't find any redeeming qualities in them that made me want to continue reading their story.
The basics (without spoiling the plotline) are this: a woman goes into labor during a blizzard. She has twins, one normal boy and a down's syndrome girl. The husband who is a doctor recognizes that the baby girl is DS, and tells the nurse tending his wife to take the baby away to a home that night. He doesn't let his wife see the baby, and tells her that the baby died. That lie destroys his life, his wife's sanity, and forces his little boy to be raised in a home with a neurotic father and a half-crazy mother. And the nurse raises the retarded little girl herself, with the father sneaking her money, etc.
I would have enjoyed a book about the challenges of raising a DS child --- but the basic premise of this book just made me mad. Her father didn't want to raise a damaged child -- so he made her disappear. What a git.
For me, the basic plot line -- father turns back on DS infant and ruins family, nurse raises retarded child in secret -- seemed contrived and unrealistic. It was like watching a bad overly-emotional unrealistic-to-the-point-of-being-fake movie on the Lifetime Channel. The father is just a totally weak, selfish pig. And the mother was a weak, simpering melba toast of a woman. I found nothing redeeming in either of them.
I did peek ahead at the ending before I put the book down in disgust. Can't tell you what the ending is, since I don't want to spoil it for anyone that wants to plod their way through this emotional mess.....but I will say, it was just as contrived as the rest.
I am just in disbelief at all the reviews I read that called this book "astonishing'' and "deeply moving'' Did those reviewers really read this book??? Or do they just stamp "Deeply moving'' on any book that deals with emotional parenting issues???
"My Sister's Keeper'' was a "deeply moving'' book about serious parenting issues. I don't know what to call "Memory Keepers Daughter'' except maybe "When Weak Gits Parent......''
Maybe the entire "astonishing'' part of this novel was in the last half that I couldn't make myself read. I expect to see a movie version of this book on the Lifetime Channel very soon. Ugh.


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