Liberation only in truth is the predominant theme of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (Book number 10) by K. Edwards. It is the saddest things I’ve ever read but it is also a most intense read with so many intricacies that challenge one to ponder what it is to be human (in almost the same deep level The Perks Of Being A Wallflower challenges one to ponder what it is to be young).
Secrets, lies, regrets, shame, and emptiness reek of this book , making your heart bleed for the characters because they all love… but they express it on all the wrong ways which created so much grief, loss, and isolation. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter actually made me wonder what is the difference between a lie and a secret because the book played them so well. The symbolism it adopts for both is cool too: photography, X-ray, bones, and rocks. Each with a secret underneath, a different life, a hidden perspective – something that can be told or something that will never be.
The characters are all defined but they were greatly flawed, partly because of the miserable choices they made like when David Henry gave away their daughter with Down’s Syndrome to protect his wife from devastation; when Norah Henry turned into an alcoholic then an adulterer because of depression after she lost her daughter; when their son Paul built walls and so much anger towards everything wrong in his family; and when Caroline Gill took Paul’s twin and raised her as her own thinking it made her the hero. These things make the atmosphere of the book charged and heavy, and considering the action happened in the 1960’s where everyday scandals are not the norm, it will really get your head up and going.
The message of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter regarding life’s turns is beautiful:
A moment is not a single moment at all, but rather an infinite number of different moments, depending on who was seeing things and how.
You can’t stop time. You can’t capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.
But what is most compelling is the author’s world view: sometimes it is too late to fix things, even to try. This is actually the battle cry of the main character, David Henry, with his God wannabe tendencies and perfectionist nature; it must have been a nightmare to realize life is not like a bone you can mend, even when he is an orthopedic surgeon. In his desperate attempt to fix things, to protect other people, to spare them from pain, he had shaped all their lives to something much more broken and something infinitely more painful… and it all started from a choice that he did not have the right to make, at least alone.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (made into a TV drama in 2008) is definitely a rich and memorable read that will push you on edge but by highlighting all the wrong things, it teaches you how to make the right ones in the end and it is a beautiful thing.
On the photo: Finally had some time to finish The Memory Keeper’s Daughter in a coffee shop yesterday! It was such a cliche: alone in a table with an opened, unused laptop, a big cup of coffee and some biscotti, and a good book! 🙂