Thursday, December 14, 2006

The memory keeper's daughter

First up in December for me was the breathtaking THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER by Kim Edwards (Penguin, c2006, ISBN 0-14-303714-5).
The book's first sentence is:
The snow started to fall several hours before her labor began.

The book begins in Lexington, Kentucky during a freak snowstorm in the winter of 1964, when David and Norah Henry give birth to twins: Paul and Phoebe. The first born, Paul, is healthy. The second, Phoebe, however, is born with Down's Syndrome and Dr. David Henry makes a split second decision that will change his life forever. He sends the inflicted child away with his nurse to a home and tells his wife the child died. When Caroline, the nurse, sees the condition of the place, she can't bear it and runs to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the child and raises her as her own.

This book is about bad decisions, memories, and secrets that can destroy. It's also about love, shame and redemption. Most importantly, it is a beautiful story that deserves to be read and I believe it will be a favorite among book discussion groups this year and years to come.

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