Friday 14 January 2011

Edwards, Kim "The Memory Keeper's Daughter"

Edwards, Kim "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" - 2005

1964. A doctor delivers his own twins during a blizzard. The son is perfectly healthy, the daughter has Downs syndrome. He is shocked and has to act fast, before his wife is awake again. What would you have done? What do we do with children today that are born with disabilities? That was the big question we asked ourselves. Can we judge someone when he did something in a different time or culture?

Everyone in our book club enjoyed reading the book although it sometimes made some of us sad and others angry. The book was an easy read, yet the writing was very interesting and it gave us lots of good thoughts.

The great thing about a book club is that you can share youre feelings and experiences, in this case various experiences with disabled children, either as a caregiver or through friends.

Years ago, I was told a story by a mother of a disabled child. She had read it in a magazine. I was lucky to find it on the internet, here's a link: Welcome to Holland

The book also showed us how one decision can change the rest of somebody's life and it taught us to be grateful for the things you have.

Lots of thought-provoking issues. The dynamic of the lie, a lie starts disturbing everything.

The title was only mentioned at one point in the book, so we thought it might be hard if you like to flick through the pages.

We also had a discussion about translated titles, e.g. in this case the German title was translated as "The Photographer's Daughter", some of us thought it was not as good, others thought it was better. Then there is "Gebroken licht" in Dutch (Broken Light), "Figlia del silenzio" in Italian (Daughter of Silence) and "Billede af et barn" in Danish (Images from a Child). So many different titles to choose from.

We discussed this in our international book club in January 2008.

From the back cover:

"Kim Edwards's stunning family drama evokes the spirit of Sue Miller and Alice Sebold, articulating every mother's silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? In 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins, he immediately recognizes that one of them has Down Syndrome and makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and to keep her birth a secret. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own. Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is an astonishing tale of redemptive love."

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2022.

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