It's a while since I finished The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, a book that filtered into my must read list after a strong recommend from Ex Libris in Ohio.
The premise was very me and although this looks as if I'm giving away the entire plot, it's no more than you are told by the blurb though I could have been put off by "the redemptive power of love".Someone needs to find a new, less corny way of saying that.
It's winter 1964 and an orthopaedic surgeon is forced by a blizzard (snow, good start) to deliver his own baby, except unbeknown to everyone it's twins (well he was an orthopod).The second baby is born and he quickly realises the baby has Down's Syndrome.He makes the split-second but life-changing decision to take advantage of his wife's semi-conscious state and asks the nurse assisting to take the baby away to an institution.Said nurse does no such thing but flees to another city and raises the child as her own.
The rest of the book covers the life-long effects on everyone and it's a riveting read as you see the effects of David's well-intentioned but obviously flawed decision on his wife Norah and remaining child Paul.
In tandem you follow Phoebe's life growing up in a home where she is loved and nurtured.
There is only one thing preventing this from becoming a 5* great read for me.
I am not particularly clever at spotting where a book could use some judicious editing. I normally read what I'm given and that's that.I'm the one that devoured every word of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke and would have happily sold a cat if I had thought for one minute there were pages of edited out chapters up for sale on eBay.Likewise I happily romped through a proof copy of The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox and enjoyed every word, while everyone else said it needed to lose 200 pages and many said we could actually do without all 694.
So what about The Memory Keeper's Daughter?
Well at 401 pages and no double spacing it felt about 100 pages too long.Don't ask me which bits should be cut, that's someone else's job but condensed down I would have been raving about this book. There were times when, even though I was loving it I felt it was ticking along for the sake of it.
Don't let any of that put you off, this is a book well worth the reading.