jump to navigation

The Memory Keepers Daughter: 1970 May I and II and June February 13, 2007

Posted by Han in The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards.

Here is where we will discuss this section of the book.



1. Michelle - February 13, 2007

May 1

What a great chapter. I so could relate with Norah’s inner conflict. I’ve never gone through what she has, but I’ve felt that unsurity. The comfort in a concrete task. The draw toward a life other than my own. The desire to try something new. The fight to just be.
I thought her wasp solution was pretty ingenious myself. The result was humerous and her response completely rational in my opinion.

And – Miss Throckmorton???

2. Nicole - February 13, 2007

Norah’s response to her pain is certainly something I struggle with. Not that I’ve experienced pain like she has, but I can understand the thought of just staying busy enough to not have to think of anything. It certainly is a desirable state at many points and I also think is more of a struggle with women. Fill every moment of everyday whether we should or not, there is always something to do.

I thought the part with the wasps was hilarious and slightly eerie. Hilarious because I could totally see myself doing the same thing and thinking I was so smart! 🙂

Norah’s drinking is kind of scary. I find myself a little wary of what the future is going to bring with that…her son, driving, yikes!

3. Jane Swanson - February 15, 2007

“I was so careful about the bees,” Norah said, helping him move Paul back to the examination table. “The wasps, I mean. I got rid of the wasps and now this.”

“It was an accident,” David said.

“I know,” she said, near tears. “That’s the whole problem.”

I really relate to this and now I think I understand Norah a bit better. She tries so hard to make things “safe” for Paul so that she doesn’t lose him too. All her motherly efforts are overruled when the “accident” happens. You can imagine the helplessness she feels when she went through SO MUCH to make him safe and it wasn’t enough. While the experience removing the bees WAS humorous, it was also motivated by her desire to protect both her husband and her son, and in the end SHE COULDN’T DO IT.

Caroline discovers the same principle when Phoebe is stung by the bee. pg.168 “You could not presume to know what life was or what it might hold.” She ends up marrying Al after the “sting” and I think part of it is this fear and Al is “warm, large and comforting”.

As a Christian, I am reading this novel and realizing that these people have no hope. I mean, where do you go with real fears like these if you can’t turn to a sovereign God?

4. anne - February 15, 2007

Michelle seriously…what is up with that name??? I wonder if it is made up? 🙂
Jane, your last sentence, so true. It is really sadand I think made it even harder for me to read.
These chapters were sad, Norah and her worries, and then her drinking after David is late again from work. I cannot even imagine. She planned so much and really wanted the night to be special…for them to try and reconnect, but it was like a gut-punch again when he never showed.
The party that she had too, we all knew that was not going to end well didn’t we? I feel very pessimistic throughout this book and I normally am more optomistic! 🙂
” David paused in his reading, watching the white petals fall and drift. He felt both comforted and troubled by their beauty, trying not to notice that they looked, from this distance, like snow.”
Wow…it was like he could not escape the secret, no matter how hard he tried it would never ever be forgotten.
I love that Caroline admits to how foolish she was to deny all, to question his love for them both. He was such a hero!

5. Nicole - February 16, 2007

I completely agree with you Jane about the hopelessness of their situation becuase they do not know the Savior. It does certainly have such an empty feel and the author clearly shows the emptiness they are feeling. Yikes, how grateful I am that we have Savior, someone who knows our every sorrow and pain.

6. bethany3boys - February 16, 2007

Jane great observation about the whole protection thing. I think you are right. And the hope thing….or lack there of is so sad. These chapters were sad. The crazy drinking (driving) kind of goes against her protective thing but it seems here she is spinning out of control. She has no hope and thus is in a spiral.

7. heather - February 17, 2007

May I

Bethany, I was thinking the same thing about the drinking/driving with Paul in the car — it does go against her excessive protectiveness.

The whole wasp/vacuum thing was very funny. I know she doesn’t mention one, but most neighborhoods have a “nosy neighbor,” and I found myself wondering what her neighborhood know-it-all thought of her wasp-stomping dance… 🙂

May II

Interesting that Caroline’s letters to David become more and more intimate over the years — “the recent ones might have been torn from her diary” (p. 143). It makes me wonder how many secrets Caroline is keeping from those in her life (Doro, Al). It almost seems like she’s using these letters as a way to deal with her thoughts and emotions.

It’s sad to watch how David and Norah are both trying to fill the void in their lives, yet they are doing so in isolation from one another: “Norah seemed very happy, laughing on the lawn. Yet David knew this success would not be enough, not even for a day. By evening she would have moved on to the next thing… ) p. 145; “By every external measure he was a success, yet he was never filled, as he hoped to be, with a sense of pride and reassurance.” p. 148.

Bethany, as a photographer, what did you think of Norah’s comment: ” ‘It’s a party,’ she repeated. ‘You can either miss it and take pictures of it, or you can get a drink and join it.’ ” p. 149.

SIDE NOTE: I love the little details Kim Edwards includes which lend authenticity to the time period in which this book is set. This section ends with a reference to David giving Paul a drink of water and “the orange chewable aspirin he liked.” p. 157. As a kid, I loved those St. Joseph’s aspirin, too! They just melted in your mouth! I always wondered why Tylenol didn’t make a tablet that tasted like that!

June 1970

I love how Caroline champions Phoebe’s cause in this section. She’s becoming more sure of herself, more assertive.

She mentions the terrible comments she’s heard through the years, “Thoughtless or ignorant or cruel, it didn’t matter; over the years these comments had rubbed a raw spot in Caroline’s heart.” p. 159. That got me thinking — I would never say one of those comments out loud to a perfect stranger, but I certainly have been guilty of thinking things like “what a shame” or “I’m glad that’s not me.” The worst comment had to have been that ER nurse asking “Are you really sure you want me to call a doctor?” UGH!!!

8. bethany3boys - February 17, 2007

Heather I loved those orange chewable asprin too. Loved being sick and getting those…they were like candy. HEE HEE

On the photography note. I think Norah’s quote is right on. It is a hard balance. There are times when I am somewhere and I don’t have my camera and I am taking these pics in my head and it is just killing me that I don’t have it. Yet there are times when I resent always being asked to bring my camera to EVERYTHING…sometimes I just want to be a guest too and have conversations and interact with people. There have been parties I have gone to where I have been asked to photograph and never really felt a part of the party, never got anything to eat or much conversation. When I photographed weddings and usually brought my camera to weddings of friends that I wasn’t working for but to get images for, it got to the point that unless someone hired me Aaron would ask that I leave my camera at home so that he could be with me. I even have to make the choice at times when I am going places with my kids…okay Bethany this is going to be a no camera trip this is a just soak up life trip. It is hard because I love capturing the moment and remembering EVERYTHING through the visual. There are events like the birth of my kids or their birthday parties or first games (even mundane moments during our everyday life) etc etc that I want to re-live over and over again and so I think the camera is necessary to capture those moments…just not to the point that I miss those moments. I also am really shy in large groups and a camera can be a crutch for me…giving me something to do when I feel vulnerable or wallflowerish. So I am constantly having to remind myself of that.

Okay I am rambling but all this to say I think that there is a balance. There are many times I go places and shoot during nice light then I put my camera away and soak up the experience first hand…not just through my lens. I am sure David was hiding behind his camera and using it as a crutch like I do sometimes and Norah just wanted him to be there with her without another “wall” inbetween them.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: