Great Books to Read: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

fiftytolife great books to read memory keeper's daughterHeaven knows I love a good book. Good books offer respite from the relentlessly raging storm going on in my head. Good books make going to bed sooooo delicious. Heck, I’ve been known to go to bed EARLY to get back to a book. Thank heavens there are so many good books: fiction, murder mysteries, bodice rippers, love stories, historical novels.

But great books? Nothing beats finding great books to read. Hands down. They make me cry, make me laugh (Stephanie Plum and Lulu, anyone?), they scare me (yeah, Dean Koontz can write a great book). They teach without preaching. I am moved. I don’t want it to end and, when it does, I want to read it again.

Great books have their downside. You know: when you finish one and start looking around for the next one… Suddenly your standards are so high. Bodice rippers are good “in-between” books for me: I can have fun while lowering my standards.

But this book: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. This book has those phrases that connect me, that make me say, “Yes. Exactly!” Words I can read to Hal out of context and they still affect. Like snippets of poetry:

Her voice, high and clear, moved through the leaves, through the sunlight. It splashed onto the gravel, the grass. He imagines the notes falling into the air like stones into water, rippling the invisible surface of the world. Waves of sound, waves of light: his father had tried to pin everything down, but the world was fluid and could not be contained.

At first the story seemed improbable and too harsh to be true, at least to this Pollyanna. In 1964, twins are born, one healthy boy, one girl with Down syndrome. The father, who is the doctor delivering his own children, asks his nurse to take the baby girl to an institution. Instead, the nurse raises the child as her own. The story line follows the two families as the children grow.

In fact, it is based on a true story… only the real-life “defective” child died in the institution, a fact discovered afterwards by a sibling. This book is the story of the damage done by secrets.

The writing is unobtrusive, touching, profoundly insightful — I wonder if the author has children, knew people with Down’s syndrome, been married, fell in love as an older woman… She writes like she’s actually been there, done that.

It wasn’t until near the very end that I understood the title. Yeah, I’m a little slow sometimes. You’ll probably get it right away.

If you like to read, read this. I fell right into this one and couldn’t put it down. I wanted more. It was such a treat and I’ll read it again (because you know I’ll forget what happens!) Read it, and tell me what you think. Then tell a friend because that’s the best way to find great books to read! What have you read lately?

P.S. Well, I just read some of the reviews for this book and perhaps I’m an illiterate boob. But I so enjoyed it and will probably read it again… to each his own, eh?

Sally Oh lives in the Bluegrass area of Kentucky with her husband of 21 years and two gigantic sons. She is a Weston A. Price chapter leader and blogs to meet like-minded farm food freedom advocates. She’s hoping you join us in the real food rEVOLution!

If you are here in KY and want to join our in-person fun, sign up on Meetup or like us on Facebook.

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