February 26, 2009

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

This is the third review of this book on The Book Nook, and the first two weren't incredibly positive. I have to disagree with the previous two. In some ways I think that's because relating to this book requires a certain life experience, which I've had, growing up poor and trying to put that behind me, and also having made a horrible mistake that seemed like the best decision at the time but turned into a destructive force in my life. No I will not elaborate.

Beyond that I think this book should also be recognized for the truly incredible writing. Edwards creates photographic snapshots as she writes that really place the reader within the story in a visual way. In fact photography is a theme in this novel, a very effective one, and it amazes me how she wove images with words as crisp and poignant as photographs. Not many writers can do that. I do appreciate a writer that allows me to use my imagination, but it drives me nuts when a writer describes nothing at all, expecting me to do all the work. Edwards creates a nice balance while also placing the reader in a sort of literary viewfinder. It's very effective.

Many books out there make me snort and say, "pssh, I could have written that." Well, I could not have written this, and that's a compliment.

I won't go into the plot because the two previous reviews did that sufficiently, you can do a quick search in the search box if you're interested. I only have two complaints. The character that the plot revolves around, Phoebe, is poorly developed. I can see why that is, it would be very difficult to get into the head of someone with Down's Syndrome. But she's only described physically, we see very little of her personality. Also the ending just kind of fizzled out, and that's frustrating. Otherwise, four stars.


  1. I love that there are several different views of the same book!

  2. You're actually the 4th reviewer here! One thing I think this proves...the book is certainly popular!

    It's nice to finally see a good review here of it. I was curious to know why it had gotten such good press when I found it pretty disappointing. I knew someone out there must like it, even if I hadn't run into them yet!

  3. Did you forget about my review? I was the first to review it on here, way back in the beginning. My mom and I both liked it. I thought the beginning moved rather slowly at first, and the end fizzled, but I really enjoyed it.

    Like you said, I think it requires a certain outlook on life to appreciate the story. Who knows.

  4. I read this book three times (for three different book groups I belong to) and I liked it better with each reading. I think I had more opportunity to get past the "I would never!", and get to know the characters better. I'd find myself thinking, "Oh, yeah, now I understand what she was thinking."

    I agree with you that Edwards has wonderful writing ability. All of my complaints about the book are about character flaws, rather than technical flaws.


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