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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter: 1988 – July I, II, November February 14, 2007

Posted by Jaree in Book Club Books, The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards.

I don’t want to give too much away here … but I was interested in how the Henry’s felt about things unfinished.  And also, do you think that Phoebe will get to live the life she dreams of?  What about the obstacles?



1. Michelle - February 21, 2007

I’m struck with the stark differences in perspectives hightlighted in the past few chapters.

Caroline speaking of the envelope she gave David at the Photography Exhibit:
“As she watched, he reached up and put the envelope casually in his pocket, as if it contained something trivial and mildy unpleasant- a utility bill, a traffic ticket.” pg 251
David’s side of the story:
“The room swirled around him, voices rose and fell; in an instant of silence he became aware that his heart was pounding, that he still held the envelope Caroline had given him. He glanced across the room again – yes, good she was still there – and tucked it carefully into his shirt pocket; his hands were trembling faintly.” pg 255.

David speaking of Pauls visits:
“Now and then David made overtures, but Paul always chose that moment to leave, pushing back his chair and yawning, suddenly tired.” pg 311
Paul’s perspective:
“I’d go over to his house and I’d try; I’d hang out and talk with Dad about this and that, but we never went any further.” pg 330

To me this story is about missed opportunities. About pride. About how lies and miscommunication can turn fissions into canyons. About how relationships take effort, real effort. I’ve heard some comment that this book seems soap opera-ish, but I think its more true to life than the average story I encounter. Pain and conequences are real and lifelong if not attended to.

2. Michelle - February 21, 2007

I just love that Phoebe is in love with Robert.

“Phoebe simply smiled up at him. It was a radiant smile; she held nothing back. No reserve, no caution, no waiting to make sure he felt the same surging love. Caroline closed her eyes at her daughter’s naked expression of emotion – the wild innocence, the risk!” pg 340

I’ve always noticed that tendency in those with Down’s- that they feel with reckless abandon. I’ve also found myself wondering if they were the “normal” ones and the rest of us defective in our hesitancy to be free to feel.

I like that Edwards contrasts the openly expressive and feeling Phoebe with the hidden, secretive, and unhappy Henry family. I think there is a little life lesson there.

Oh- and what do you guys think about Bree’s subtle but lifechanging turnaround?

3. Sara - February 25, 2007

I agree, Michelle, I also like the contrast with Phoebe’s love against everyone elses. She was so free to love, so unconditionally… where as everyone else had fears, secrets, or carried scars in love. Makes you think…

4. Jane Swanson - February 28, 2007

I LOVE that Phoebe was able to do weaving! What a fun and creative outlet for her.

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