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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter : 1977 – July, August, II, and September February 14, 2007

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

Hi Everyone, so, so sorry to be such a terrible moderator … Bethany is my HERO!!  I was crazy busy and then had to find my login info.  Anyway … hope you have been enjoying the book!  I was interested in this section about how the trip was another turning point for the Henry family.


1. Michelle - February 15, 2007

I just wanted to take a moment to comment on Kim Edwards writing style. It completely draws me in. I actually hear the roar of the passing train… ache with the emptyness of the Henry home. Something about the writing allows me to tangibly experience each event and feeling along with the characters. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced a book in this fashion and am really enjoying it.

2. anne - February 15, 2007

I agree Michelle!

I knew,from the moment Howard appeared he was trouble and that something would happen between he and Norah. It seems like she is losing her mind in this chapter…obviously she is not herself but she was living this dream…
They are together as a family, but not really “together” they are not connecting to each other at all, and at this point seem to only be drifting further apart.

August. I
How could he? Be late I mean…seriously get over the work thing. He obviously submerses himself in his work so he can “forget” the past. Hello…NOT WORKING David! I am SO frustrated with David and mad, but at the same time sad for him…he is so deep in it now, is there a way out?
Now, I am mad at Norah. I can see how she was lead to have affairs, but she just did not seem to care anymore, and that is why she contined on. What upset me more was that Paul knew. Her son, and her husband knew. I knew that David would have found out soon, but Paul…sigh. What will happen with him? ” He wanted to connect with Paul, to haver a moment where they understood each other, but his good intentions had spiraled into argument and distance.”
Again…the past haunting him. It really is sad.
August II-
We see Paul struggling as a teen, a hard time for parents and teens, but this situation more delicate as Norah and David are distant and they are both struggling to be close to their son, but I think he feels torn. How could he not?
“Paul paused for a moment in the harsh morning light, listening to his father work inside the darkroom, imagining those same hands moving carfully inside a persons body, seeking to repair what had been broken.”
Whoa…ok broken glass, broken people…his Father trying to repair it all. It is like he knew, and he wanted to try and understand but he could not.

Oh, I love Doro…I wonder did Caroline ever tell Doro the truth?
The letter to David at the end of the chapter remains unfinished…with good reason? Caroline went out to find Phoebe and left the letter and she was there to take care of her, and be in her life. What was the point of her continuing to write David who gave her away…to never be seeing again? I totally understand her anger toward him after the frantic search.

3. Nicole - February 16, 2007

Okay, I’m not trying to be argumentative, but I found this part of the book so frustrating for many reasons. First of all, the author is starting to loose me, the story feels a bit to dramatic to me, to much like a soap opera. And I realize that David is certainly a complicated character and he has many reasons for not telling Norah the truth, but I find myself just wanting to shake him and scream at him to tell her. How can he just stand by when his wife is having an affair and his son knows about it. If he loves her so much why doesn’t he fight for her? Aargh, why doesn’t he do something?

4. bethany3boys - February 16, 2007

Yeah this part was so sad to me. The whole affair thing. I mean in a way it is David’s fault for never coming clean and being open in their relationship but we are all responsible for our own actions no matter what has been done to us and I have to say I was really disappointed in Norah at this point. She made a choice on a FAMILY vacation. She not only hurt herself…in my opinion but her husband…whom I think she wanted to hurt and her son who obviously she didn’t know she hurt. I am sure we would see to there are more people hurting involved because I Henry was married with kids too. Just goes to show how our choices don’t just effect us and one or two other people they have a ripple effect.

This part was just sad to me…I felt like I was losing hope at this point in the book. And I can’t remember if I am getting ahead so if I am I am sorry but I thought maybe this would be a turning point for David. That now that Norah had a secret and he knew he would open up about his secret….but NO. Annoying.

5. bethany3boys - February 16, 2007

Anne I LOVED Doro tooo. I can sooooo just imagine her.

6. bethany3boys - February 16, 2007

Nicole this chapter is a downer but I have to say that is the low point of the book it doesn’t get any worse.

7. Nicole - February 17, 2007

I totally loved Doro as well, it was such a breath of fresh air, and I felt such relief for Caroline. What a great situation for her and Phoebe!

8. heather - February 17, 2007

Anne, I wonder if the whole workaholic thing with David has to do with the idea that at work he can fix things (broken bones), while at home, he doesn’t seem to know how to fix his relationships. It seems ridiculous to us, I know, but it makes sense that he’d want to throw himself into the situations where he feels most in control. I think his photography plays a similar role — it something he can control and “fix” just the way he wants it. It is frustrating, though! I want to shake this whole family!

Michelle, I agree about Edwards writing style. She has a great way of describing things. In this section I was struck by how she describes the lobster meal before it was eaten vs. the scene in the kitchen after the meal. “She…began to cook, simple, but luxurious foods…small lobsters she’d bought that morning at the market, still in buckets of seawater…they would eat the lobster with their fingers, butter running down their palms” (p. 179) The whole paragraph makes the meal sound fantastic and beautiful. Then Norah returns to the kitchen after the meal (and after she’s gotten angry), and Edwards describes the scene like this “All around her were dirty pots and congealing butter, the fiery red husks of lobsters like the shells of dead cicadas.” p. 182

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