The Memory Keeper's Daughter Summary

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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a fiction novel written by Kim Edwards that takes you through the entire lives of a group of troubled, but otherwise regular, people. You enter their world on a snowy, March night in 1964 in Lexington, Kentucky, where characters Dr. David Henry and his wife Norah give birth to their first child, a healthy baby boy named Paul. Several moments after that, they deliver another child, a baby girl named Phoebe whom Henry instantly realizes has Down syndrome. In an attempt to save his wife the inevitable pain his own family went through many years before, he sends his nurse Caroline Gill to take the baby to an institution, however Gill decides to keep her and raise her as her own. This decision jumpstarts the rest of young, fragile Caroline’s life, as she slowly transforms into the strong, extraordinary woman she was destined to become. At the beginning of the novel Caroline doesn’t know what she wants out of life, tricking herself into believing that she is happy where she is. The moment Phoebe enters her life, she realizes that the life-changing moment she has deep down been waiting for has finally arrived. She had hopes of finding that…show more content…
As Edwards states, “When she’d worked in David Henry’s office she had been so young, so lonely and naive, that she imagined herself as some sort of vessel to be filled up with love. But it wasn’t like that. The love was within her all the time, and its only renewal came from giving it away.” (Pg. 247) This realization shows how much Gill has grown since she last saw Henry. Through loving Phoebe and her husband, Al, she realizes that love isn’t something you receive, rather something you give. At this point in the novel she seems truly content with where she ended up in life, telling him,“You missed a lot of heartache, sure. But David, you missed a lot of joy.” (Pg.

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