Friday, February 09, 2007

Vacation Book Report #8

The Memory Keeper's Daughter
(2005) by Kim Edwards

**** 1/2 out of five

I didn't think I'd like this book because the premise is so bizarre. A young doctor's wife goes into labor during a freak snowstorm in Kentucky, and he is forced to deliver his own baby with the help of a nurse. His son is born healthy, but a second child is delivered; a daughter with Down Syndrome. The doctor's own sister died of Down Syndrome when she was a teenager, and to save his wife the pain his own mother suffered he hands the baby to the nurse with instructions to take the child to an institution. The nurse, who is secretly in love with the doctor, takes the child, moves away, and raises her as her own. The doctor tells his wife her second child was born dead.

Completely implausible, but according to the author's notes, this is based on a true story told to her by a minister. The writing is beautiful, lush and lyrical. Even the doctor who gave away his own child becomes a sympathetic figure. It's the second book I've read here that reduced me to tears.

I return to the frigid north tomorrow, so only one more book to be read here on the pink sand beach.

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