The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted story of breath-taking sorrow. The story hinges on one fateful, dramatic decision that affects the very foundation of essentially two families. In the first chapter, David, the father and a doctor, delivers his own children during a snow storm. They are fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down's Syndrome. The father gives the girl to his nurse, Caroline, and instructs her to leave the baby at a home, but the nurse instead raises the girl as her own daughter. This one decision haunts David's family all their lives.
From the Washington Post:
"...This tragedy of a man who thinks he can control how lives are redirected is as moving as the story of his nurse, who knows that her love can bless a damaged life. In the end, it's not just that David made a mistake in a moment of crisis; it's that he never realized that parenthood is an infinite series of opportunities for redemption. Years after the choice he could never forgive himself, for, as Caroline tells him, "You missed a lot of heartache, sure. But David, you missed a lot of joy." Readers of The Memory Keeper's Daughter will find ample stores of both."
Reviewed by Ron Charles Copyright 2005, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved. -
The characters are true to life and, just as in real life, you may not always or ever like them. There was even a time while reading that I had to set the book aside, reflecting on how some events in the book so closely mirrored a couple similar family situations from years ago. In some ways I think that since the characters so closely resembled how some people would react, it becomes even more heart breaking.