Last night, we had Book Club at a local Mexican restaurant (the cheese! the margaritas!), and we talked about The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.
Publication Date: 2006
This novel received mixed reviews from the group… Some of us (me!) thought it was deep-thinking and posed some interesting questions, while others thought it was just too sad and annoying (most of the other people). Granted, I didn’t like the main characters very much, but as I read more novels, I’ve learned to appreciate stories outside of whether I like the main characters or not.
1. The premise. Ok, so reading the back cover is pretty interesting. The story is set in a time period we don’t usually read (1960s-70s), and the idea of a doctor giving up his newborn is intriguing. I think it was executed well, and showed an interesting parallel between someone who makes the wrong decision (Dr. Henry) vs. someone who makes the right decision (Caroline).
2. The time period. We don’t usually see novels set in this time period, especially ones about normal people (and not hippies/drug users). I found it interesting to see the expectations of women at that time. It seems like the 60s weren’t that long ago, but women still had crazy expectations on them. Also, watching Caroline fight for Phoebe’s right to an education was so exciting for me.
1. The Henry Family. So the decision that Dr. Henry makes and the lies he conceals undeniably pulls his family apart. We all found ourselves shouting at the book, “Just tell them already!” There were so many “What If” moments in this novel… What if they had kept Phoebe? What if Dr. Henry had told his wife the truth? What if Caroline hadn’t kept Phoebe? I liked this aspect, but most of the group thought it was frustrating.
2. The sad. This book is a tough book. It’s not easy to get through. There’s a lot of heartbreak, hurting each other, and tough decisions. Eventually, the novel wrapped up well, but getting to the end was emotionally draining.