Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards I picked up The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards after reading a review of what promised to be a very powerful book. That reviewer and I are going to have to agree to disagree.::: One Moment in Time :::The crux of The Memory Keeper's Daughter is one moment's decision that impacts how the lives of two families progress: a doctor, delivering his own twins during a snowstorm, realizes that one twin has Down syndrome and hands the baby off to the nurse to take to a home for the mentally retarded, telling his wife that the baby was stillborn. The nurse, unable to leave the baby after she sees the home, takes the baby to raise as her own.::: Parallel Lives of Empty Selfishness :::The Memory Keeper's Daughter follows both families (Caroline, the nurse and the baby girl Phoebe as well as David and Norah Henry and the "surviving" twin Paul) through the years, as Caroline struggles to raise Phoebe on her own and the Henry family grows ever more distant due to the secret that David keeps from his wife and son.However, what should be a moving and powerful book feels just as empty inside as the people in it. From the original decision, which David Henry claims to have made because of his wife's fragile mental state, the whole plot seems a farce. This same "fragile" woman goes on to be unfaithful. David Henry ignores his wife and son, taking pictures and spending most of his time in the darkroom or seeing life through his camera. Neither of them seem to have much interaction with their son, wrapped up in the daughter who isn't there. And Caroline falls into neat plot point after neat plot point, leading them all to a conclusion that is so conveniently timed that it really doesn't upset anyone's apple cart.Side plots are advanced with characters with no real character development, and by two-thirds of the way through the book, I really didn't care what happened to ANY of the characters. I just wanted to slap them all silly, and it's difficult to care very much about the story when you can't stand any of the characters. Edwards had what could have been a great story here, but sabotages it with unsympathetic characters and plot contrivances worthy of a George Lucas film.This review previously published at Epinions:

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