The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
by Kim Edwards

Grade: B-

The Synopsis: David and Norah Henry are a young couple having their first child in the 1960’s. David Henry is a doctor, specializing in bones. Norah goes into labor on a snowy day, and the doctor who planned to meet them at David Henry’s clinic doesn’t make it. David delivers the baby himself, with the help of his nurse Caroline Gill.
Norah gives birth to twins–a boy and a girl with Down syndrome. David gives the baby girl to the nurse and tells her to take the baby to an institution. Instead, Caroline takes the baby herself and raises her.
David tells his wife that the second baby died, and from that point forward, they are never the same happy couple. Norah is torn apart by grief for her dead daughter, and David deals with the guilt of lying and causing her this grief.

The Review: The first chapter of this book gripped me with the story of David and Norah’s meeting and marriage. However, when David gave the baby away I just wanted to stop reading.
I found the book fairly boring and it did not captivate me, apart from the occasionally chapter where things actually happen. Norah flirts with alcoholism, and then nothing comes of it, she just stops drinking. Time moves on, but much of the writing does not move the plot forward. It feels quiet and depressing.
The book covers a serious topic, but I felt that the connection between readers and characters was not very strong. This could be a personal thing on my part, as the character I felt most connected with was the teenage son.
It is a best seller, so perhaps you should judge for yourself, but if you are looking for something fun to read, this book is not it.

Review: Tara Road

May 21, 2007

Tara Road
by Maeve Binchy

Grade: A

Synopsis: This book begin with the focus on one woman, Ria, but the scope of the novel expands to follow the lives of several interesting characters. The story is about love, motherhood, home, friends, and dealing with sudden changes in life.

Review: I loved this book. It is sweet, the characters are loveable and interesting. Maeve Binchy manages to provide deep personalities and stories for each character, even down to the teenage daughter, and the husband’s mistress. The main character is a wonderful woman, who starts out with little self-confidence, but as she grows older she manages her house and children impressively. She’s a woman I wouldn’t mind being like–she’s kind to everyone around her, a good friend, a great cook. The book is fairly lengthy, so it is ideal to take on summer trips, to read by the pool or the beach.