Book Review: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

Title: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
Author: Kim Edwards
Pages: 401
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143037145

On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down’s Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century – in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

REVIEW

If you’re in a situation to either keep a secret that will destroy your love one’s lives or to deal with a scenario that can possibly give pain and regrets, what will you choose? The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, a story about a fathers journey through grief and sadness as he gave away her daughter believing that it’s the right thing to do. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – great plot, written awesomely yet there’s something lacking in the story. Okay so let’s discuss The Memory Keeper’s Daughter starting with the story line.

Dr. Henry faces difficult decisions and faces unsurmountable consequences through his life after delivering his wife’s twins and came to a decision to give away his baby girl who was born with Down’s Synndrome. No one can really know what to do in this situation and no one can really blame what the doctor faced that night. I mean people can point fingers and throw moral obligations but at the end – whatever actions one does, we’ll suffer the consequences of everything in the future. We can speculate that it’ll be different if he decided otherwise but if you really think about it, no one knows how it’ll be until you are really there. That’s where the dilemma started – believing what is right from wrong. It’s really hard to debate on what’s right and wrong since everybody will have a different perspective and decision but that’s how Dr. Henry wanted it and that’s the start of his troubles.

His marriage was never the same after that night, Norah was just not moving on. Not even trying but rather made stupid decisions that she decided were justifiable from the hurt that she was facing. Everything with her was one sided – What about me? My feeling? My loss? Well, what about your husband’s and your son? It was just painful. Paul, well there’s really no development there as well as Bree who is Norah’s sister. Edward gave us a glimpse of here and there but character development with these two was lacking. What I didn’t get was why Phoebe’s character didn’t get the exposure or “voice” that was supposed to be the driving force behind the whole story.

Next is the pacing. When you think that you are close to the climax, it mellows down then after a few chapter it seems to be reaching the climax again but it mellows down one more time and that went on and on a few times. That was frustrating – that was what bothered me as well. The story went on and on and resolution was written in the last few chapters of the book. It was like Edwards wrote a big chunk of sulkiness and problems, 3/4 of the book then wrote out the ending just to resolve the whole thing. The ending was missing something that I couldn’t really point out too. I would really loved to have read the why’s of Dr. Henry. Why he decided to give his baby away, I would have appreciated if he was given a few chapter to defend himself and make us realize on the why’s but rather Edward killed that character. Heart attack while running. Hmmmm. Really? Very convenient.

What I did love about the book was its ability to give me the emotions needed to follow the story and finish the book – it was an emotional roller coaster  to say the least and that isn’t a bad point in this review either. There are a few books that can do that and Edwards has that talent of keeping a reader focused, intrigued and curious up to the resolution of the story. In addition, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter was a very difficult topic to tackle, so a point goes to Edward for giving us a story that one can remember. How you remember this book depends on the readers but for me, it’s a love and hate relationship that I would love to revisit in the future.

What I also love are the tons of philosophy in the story.

You can’t stop time. You can’t capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.

Here’s another one

Photography is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell.

and last but not the least –

Either things grow and change or they die.

I’d love to share this scene as well for you guys to remember:

“How?” he asked softly. “How could he never tell us?”

She turned to him, serious. “I don’t know. I’ll never understand it. But think how his life must have been, Paul. Carrying this secret with him all those years.”

……

“Our lives could have been so much different.”

“Yes. That’s true. But they weren’t different, Paul. They happened just like this.”

“You’re defending him,” he said slowly.

“No. I’m forgiving him. I’m trying to, anyway. There’s a difference.”

“He doesn’t deserve forgiveness.” Paul said, surprised at his bitterness, still.

“Maybe not,” his mother said. “But you and I and Phoebe, we have a choice. To be bitter and angry, or to try and move on. It’s the hardest thing for me, letting go of all that righteous anger. I’m still struggling. But that’s what I want to do.”

That’s probably the most beautiful thing I read in the book.

At the end of the day, it’s really a matter of perspective and approach with this book. I didn’t love it, I am not the only one. There are a number of people who loved this book  so it really depends on how you’ll take everything in. Would I recommend it, sure why not. As I said, there are people who hate it but there are tons who adore it so I want everybody to give this book a chance.

SIDE NOTE: Since I admit that I am a reader who do judge a book by it’s cover – the cover is awesome. Very eye catching there’s no doubt about it and the title gives that mysterious vibe to it that will make you insanely curious and interested in the novel.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: I just noticed that I am always most of the time disappointed in a book with US No.1 Bestseller selling point, note to self  in the future- be hesitant in the future unless proven otherwise.

 

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Celebrating Short Stories

 

Make every word count. Bring characters to life, quickly. Boil it down to the essentials. Believe in your story.

Goals and plan off a busy bee –

I’ve been so busy lately that I got astray with my reading schedule (well I don’t really have a reading schedule per se but I do try to read and review as much book as time permits) and got hooked up with more important priorities like work and starting a business. As of today, I just realized I only bought 12 new books (which is ready tamed if you know my spending and reading habits) and read 35 books out of 50 (according to my Goodread 2012 Reading Challenge update).

I need to update and re-introduce myself with the book blogging community. Here are my goals and update as of May:

1. I made a transfer from my Blogger home to WordPress and I am loving every bit of the move so far.

2. Decided that I’ll be more active with my book groups in Goodreads – I am only a member of two so far. One is The Filipino Group  and the other is the YA Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club. Have to catch up on what to read for this year. Decided that I won’t be shy anymore but rather be in the open and socialize more.

3. Organize my bookshelf on what was already read and what are to be read so that I’ll know what books to tackle in the future, not to mention organize the books that are in my Nooks.

4. Discover new books – never limit and be more adventurous in book choices and trying out recommendations by fellow book bloggers.

5. Maximize social media more and widen my network.

6. Comment. Comment. Comment and meet new friends.

** wait, so far everything is more being in the open and meeting friends. Well, it’s because back in 2011 I didn’t participate more in the community, remained a shy bug – sad but true so this year, I vow to socialize. Socialize. SOCIALIZE.

7. BUY more books. (Who can blame me, especially when there are tons of great books this year)

8. Prioritize work/career, better time management and always remember that blogging is fun not something that should be obligatory.

9. Write better reviews. 🙂

10. SAVE. SAVE. SAVE. (both for personal and book buying teehee)

With those said, any book recommendations for me? 🙂 Have a great weekend guys and enjoy every page of your current read.

 

Book Review: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Arctic Incident
Author: Eoin Colfer
Pages: 277
Publisher: Hyperion Books
ISBN: 0786851473

The Arctic Incident sees the slightly older, perhaps slightly more mellow arch-criminal Artemis recovered from his last adventure, richer now that he has his half of a hoard of fairy gold, and happier since the Clarice Starlingesque superfairy Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon returned his mother’s ailing mind to full health.

But there is still much unfinished business: Artemis Fowl Sr. disappeared when a daring escapade designed to free his family from their criminal–not to mention deeply lucrative–past and move the family’s assets into

legitimate enterprises went horribly wrong. Held captive by the Mafiya (the Russian organized crime syndicate) for over two years, he has been declared officially dead, but Artemis Jr. knows in his heart (yes, he does have one) that his beloved father is still alive, and he is determined to find him. Meanwhile Captain Short is temporarily on assignment to Customs and Excise as punishment for letting Fowl separate her and her People from their gold and is finding her stakeout duties a little dull. It soon becomes obvious that the pair have need of each other’s considerable skills, and before long they are on track for an adventure that will ultimately have far-reaching consequences for both of them.

REVIEW

The Arctic Incident is the second installment in the Artemis Fowl series and it picks up from where the first book ended. This installment basically focuses on Artemis’ “new ways, refined ways” and his search for his missing dad but conflict with The People puts Artemis in a tight spot where he uses all his resources and knowledge to the most advantageous ways.

This book may not be as great as the first book, it was still a great read. The characters were still hilarious and the twist and plots thoroughly planned. The Arctic Incident was very entertaining and there never was a dull moment throughout the book although it needed that addition WOW factor that the first book provided readers. I love how Colfer continues to develop the characters and story lines critical to kee followers into reading the third installment of the series.

Artemis Fowl
1. Artemis Fowl

IMM: In My Mailbox (6)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.

Just got back from my lovely vacation with my partner (actually it was last week but hadn’t had the time to update the blog) and I bought 3 books when I was away. I know what you are thinking, only 3? Ahuh, only 3 books but 3 great books. *grins*

The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl #7)
by Eoin Colfer

Artemis has committed his entire fortune to a project he believes will save the planet and its inhabitants, both human and fairy. Can it be true? Has goodness taken hold of the world’s greatest teenage criminal mastermind?

Captain Holly Short is unconvinced, and discovers that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, a psychosis common among guilt-ridden fairies — not humans — and most likely triggered by Artemis’s dabbling with fairy magic. Symptoms include obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia, multiple personality disorder and, in extreme cases, embarrassing professions of love to a certain feisty LEPrecon fairy.

Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind — and the grips of a giant squid — in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants?

The Fault in our Stars
by John Green

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

The Perks of being A Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Here’s what I have for this week from Netgalley:

Between You and Me
by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have proven again and again that they are masters at exploring the nuances of family relationships—as they intersect with the current trends in the culture at large.

In Between You and Me, twenty-seven-year-old Logan Wade has built a life for herself in New York City, far from her unhappy childhood in Oklahoma. But when she gets the call that her famous cousin needs a new assistant, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. Logan hasn’t seen Kelsey since they were separated as kids; in the meantime, Kelsey Wade has become one of Fortune Magazine’s most powerful celebrities and carrion for the paparazzi. But the joy at their reunion is overshadowed by the toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her controlling parents. As Kelsey grasps desperately at a “real” life, Logan risks everything to try and give her cousin the one thing she has never known—happiness. As Kelsey unravels in the most horribly public way Logan finds that she will ultimately have to choose between saving her cousin and saving herself.

Rape Girl
by Alina Klein

Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.

But not the rape girl.

That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it.

Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers.

The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same.

Rape Girl is the compelling story of a survivor who does the right thing and suffers for it. It is also the story of a young woman’s struggle to find the strength to fight back.

There you have it, so what’s in your mailbox? 🙂

FF: FEATURE & FOLLOW (3)

Q: Summer Break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading & relax?

A: Anywhere near a beach where I can sit on the sand under a cool shade with a glass of juice and a book or two. There are a number of beaches I can think of but I am stinking close to home – Puerto Princessa, Palawan.

Where would you want to chill this summer?

** I would appreciate if you follow via Linky or via email which you can find on the left side bar. 🙂 Happy weekend guys.

BTT: Booking Through Thursday (2)

If you had to choose to live within a novel, which would it be?

Great question and a very difficult one as well. If I’d be living within a novel, the first one that comes to mind is the Iron Fey series. I’ve always been fascinated with magic and fairies and anything related to them. Another great choice for me would be the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series or any novel that involves Greek mythology. On another note, I would love to live in a world full of vampires and werewolves. See how confused I am right now?? 🙂 It’s hard to decide on a single novel or world alone so I can’t really narrow it down to a novel.

What novel would you like to live within?

Book Review: Tomorrow is Today by Julie Cross

Title: Tomorrow is Today (Tempest .5)
Author: Julie Cross
Pages: 58
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
ASIN: B005VDE8LI

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, throws lots of parties, is interested in a girl he can’t have, and oh yeah, he can travel back through time.

But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

REVIEW

Here’s a short review for an introductory novella to what seems like an amazing series by Julie Cross. I’ve read Tomorrow is Today before reading Tempest just to see how I’ll like Tempest. After finishing the novella, I was excited to read more about Holly and Jackson and his world of time travelling. Some part of me thought that Tomorrow is Today is unnecessary, we can do without it but there’s a part of me as well that thought otherwise. Tomorrow is Today gives us an idea on what to expect and it also is a great addition on giving us a short background of Holly and Jackson. Quick, enjoyable read which gave readers a grasp of what to look forward in Cross’ future books.

** Here’s a teaser of Tempest for everybody’s enjoyment courtesy of Macmillan Audio.

[audio https://thesolitarybookworm.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/tempest_webclip.mp3]