Reading for a Lifetime Together


Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Intellectually-impaired Daughter
April 3, 2010, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

On a winter night of 1964, a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his twin children. His son is born normal and healthy while his daughter is born with Down syndrome. He makes a drastic split-second decision and tells Nurse Caroline to take the daughter to an institution. She disappears with the baby and moves to another city where she raises the baby. Norah, the mother, has no idea what happened. She believes that the baby died. Caroline has a lot of difficulties in her new life with raising the baby, Phoebe, as her own. David and Norah do not have the happy life that David envisioned for them and their son, Paul. David remembers his younger sister that died from Down syndrome, forcing him to come to terms with his past.

This book develops from an incredibly difficult situation to many different lives. Raising a child with Down syndrome would have been difficult, especially in that time period. I find it incredible that Caroline joined with other parents with intellectually-impaired children and fought for their rights to streamline life for intellectually-impaired children. Phoebe marries, but finds it difficult to accept that, after 25 years of knowing Caroline as her mother, that she has another mother and a twin brother. I found the ending very happy because Phoebe grew up with a mother that truly cared about her and found happiness in her life. When I think of Down syndrome, I remember my trip to Kansas City, Missouri. When we were there, there was a convention for Down syndrome children. It would not be as difficult to raise a Down syndrome child in today’s world.
-Natalie

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