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The Memory Keeper’s Daugher: 1982 – April I, II, III, IV February 14, 2007

Posted by Jaree in Book Club Books, The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards.
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What do you think about what happened in Pittsburgh was so life changing for David? And wow, what do you think about Rosemary and her influence?

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1. bethany3boys - February 16, 2007

I thought things would really turn here for David my optimistic hope.

I loved Rosemary she is a great character. I think it is so interesting how David finally reveals himself to someone….a total stranger and yet he can be so comfortable with Rosemary and it is like he never wants to let her go. It surprises me that he doesn’t see the freedom and the weight removed when he is with Rosemary and want the same for he and Norah.

2. anne - February 17, 2007

I have to be honest, while I read this book very qiuckly and did love it…I am a bit frustrated as I was reading during1982 and the start of 1988.
Edwards started to lose me a bit. I feel like sometimes authors begin to get a little, dare I say , lazy at the end…they begin to just want to wrap it up quick and the story begins to go downhill a bit for me.
BUT I do not want to say that this book is not worth it. It definately kept my interest.
Rosemary was a great character…I pictured her as a slightly overweight pregnant teen, but yet beautiful and kind. Good point Bethany…but he know deep down I think that it is too late, the secret has been kept too long and Norah would never forgive him.
In Pittsburgh, I think it hit him like a ton of bricks…here he was leading his life submersing himself into his work…as a Dr, and in his photography and then up turns Caroline. He begs her to stay but he should have left straight away with her…I think he realizes this after he notices she has left and goes to search for her but comes up empty and realizes he has lost his daughter again… by choice.

3. Nicole - February 19, 2007

I was so shocked that David didn’t go after Caroline when she appears. Its like that scene represente his entire life: missed opportunities because he was too…I don’t know, chicken, lazy, timid, selfish, hurt? I don’t know. But I think this scene in the book is pointing to the fact that David is never going to tell Norah. That he doesn’t really care about being in Phoebe’s life. Bethany, you comment about the freedom he felt with Rosemary and not using it is so true!

Anne, I totally agree with you on the book. I think there was potential to enjoy the Rosemary character more, but it seems like she didn’t take long enough to develop her character. I also agree that the author had a good start and then seems to taper off and get very choppy and do less character development towards the end, especially in this section. I should have been the climax of the book, but instead just seemed to be another “drama” section. Mmmm.

4. bethany3boys - February 21, 2007

Anne and Nicole
There were so many characters that seemed like they needed to be developed more…Rosemary, Bree, Doro even Caroline and Al and Pheobe I felt were lacking. I thought the book was going to be about Caroline and Phoebe more when I first started reading it. I felt so much of that journey was left untouched and would have been a more heartwarming thing to be reading then the basic breakdown of Norah and David…that could have been accomplished still but with a balance on the other end. I felt like there were so many good starts to characters that then just fizzled and disappeared. I did enjoy Edwards writing in the begining of the book and all the descriptions etc it did feel a little rushed toward the end though…Anne I think you are very right about that one.

5. Michelle - February 21, 2007

I can see your point about the author possibly wrapping up the story too quickly… but I also see that as life- that it flys by quickly and happens unexpectedly. I think overall Edwards has pretty good insight into people and they difficult lives they sometimes lead… and I’d just like to think that is what she is trying to convey in these final chapters. But then again, perhaps I’m just in a generous mood tonight.

6. Ashleigh - February 23, 2007

Honestly, I found myself resenting Rosemary a bit — but not because of anything Rosemary did (she was likeable enough), but because of David. I really felt for Norah and Paul, who for years longed for David to open himself up to them, yet he wouldn’t. Suddenly he comes home with Rosemary and there is freedom there he doesn’t have with Norah and Paul. All because he told her what he should have told Norah years ago.

As far as the ending, I felt like the book got too melodramatic at times, specifically in the middle. Almost to the point of spiraling out of control. So I enjoyed the slow, uneventful ending. It felt more realistic to me.

7. Ashleigh - February 23, 2007

Nicole, I loved what you said about David not following Caroline. How “its like that scene represente his entire life: missed opportunities because he was too…I don’t know, chicken, lazy, timid, selfish, hurt?” I thought you described it perfectly!

8. Sara - February 23, 2007

Hi! I agree with Nicole, that David’s life was a bunch of missed opportunities or I would say relationships. He never opened up to anyone till he meet Rosemary. How sad. It so interesting that the only person he opens up to is a young woman in trouble.
What really got me about these chapters is Paul! I think Edwards does a good job at showing how a dark secret hurts and how deep. Paul is like totally trying to get his parents attention (love), but both seem to have closed themselves off to him. When Paul finally gets a loving response from his Dad he runs! What did anyone else think of this?
I also agree with Anne, I think the charracter developement is a little lacking. The whole book so far to me has this distant feel, it seems you don’t really get to know anyone really well and it is these small glimpses into their lives…
Overall I have to say this book is depressing. I hope it ends with some redemption.

9. Jane Swanson - February 24, 2007

I also resented the freedom that David found by telling his “secret” to Rosemary. He could have found real freedom AND forgiveness if he had told Norah and Paul. What he found with Rosemary was not “REAL”. I felt like it was an artifical freedom.

I totally agree with the way the book was rushed through and that the characters were not developed at all. It’s funny how Anne thought of Rosemary as overweight and I thought of her as a slim girl with just a basketball of a tummy, long stringy blond hair, big blue eyes. I’m sure that the author described her but as she didn’t do a great job of developing her character, my own mind filled in the gaps and that is the picture I came up with!

10. Heather - February 24, 2007

Rosemary’s character did seem undeveloped at this point in the story. I couldn’t quite get a clear picture of her, either. Part of me wondered if the description of Rosemary was vague on purpose. I don’t think he opened up to her because of anything special about her, it seems like he did so because she was there, in the house from his past, the past he’d tried to bury and forget. Later in the book, David refers to the actual, physical act of going back to his home as being the catharsis he needed. “David had come back from West Virginia set free from the grief and loss he’d locked away all those years. When June died he’d had no way to give voice to what had been lost, no real way to move on. It was unseemly, even, to speak of the dead in those days, so they had not. They had left all this grieving unfinished. Somehow, going back had allowed him to settle it.” p. 315

I do think we get a better description of Rosemary later, though. We find out in the first chapter of the next section that she not only keeps David’s secret, she doen’t judge or reject him because of what she knows. Unfair as it is, David finds his freedom in that. You’re right though, Jane, he would have found so much more freedom in telling Norah and Paul. Maybe he’s content with this pseudo-freedom because he doesn’t want to deal with the possibility that Norah and Paul wouldn’t forgive him, that they would reject him and judge him. The irony is that he loses them anyway.

11. Nicole - February 24, 2007

It seems to me that David’s fear of telling the secret began with not wanting the hurt of another loved one with health problem similar to his sister and then moved on towards fear of rejection from Norah and Paul. I think, I could never quite tell why he didn’t say anything, especially after he went back to West Virginia and finally faced his past. To me this was one of the most surprising parts of the whole book. I thought for sure that he would tell Norah and Paul once he found his ” freedom” through telling Rosemary.

I also found it interesting how easily he seemed okay with letting Rosemary and Jack move away. I thought that since Rosemary was the only one who knew the story and he had a relationship with her son he didn’t with his AND when Paul came it seemed like he opened up when Rosemary was here that David would be a bit more hesitant for her to leave. But, on the other hand, I guess it was good that he let her go…

12. Sara - February 24, 2007

I don’t know, I can’t help to think that David is not spilling the beans because he is not sure how it would even look. How would he bring this daughter into their lives? He doesn’t like the unknown. I think Nicole is right it could of almost been anyone in WV, it was easy to tell her, she wasn’t likely to change anything.
What really hit me about these chapters is Paul’s reaction to his fathers loving response to him going to Julliard. He ran. Also the reaction the parents had to him leaving…even going to work the next day. It is so sad how they have all closed themselves off to loving. For me this book has been depressing…I really hope there is some sort of redemption in the end.


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