18 November 2007

Book Thoughts--The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

(Note: I stopped calling these "reviews" because let's be honest, I'm no professional critic. I'm a reader who likes certain things and doesn't like other things, and I'm a writer who tries to learn from each book I read. So here are my thoughts.)
This book is lush. A rainforest of words. Especially after reading The Road. The Memory Keeper's Daughter tells a heartbreaking story, and Edwards writes flawed but loveable characters—I hurt for all of them, including the one who caused all the pain. I knew why he did what he did. When the other characters in the book saw him as something of the antagonist, I wanted to tell him, “You’re forgiven.” And nothing in the book is simple or pat. The author develops messy characters and a messy situation, and she doesn’t cop out at the end. There’s hope and redemption, but it’s not easy.
Things that bugged me: repetition. Did the author think I’ve forgotten the situation or a particular memory or how so-and-so deals with it in the space of a few pages? Because of this, the book occasionally felt maudlin.
Also, the male character had a penchant for describing things like a woman. Now, I understand that later he becomes a photographer (don’t worry—that doesn’t ruin anything about the book), so perhaps he’s more visual, and I like when she associates his descriptions to the lighting and shadow he becomes obsessed with in his photography or when it’s akin to the rocks he collects or bones he studies as a doctor. But, seriously, especially in the beginning, using too many words and color choices and hair styles and clothing trends. If she set it up, perhaps he worked in a department store to help ends meet or he followed the clothing industry as part of his way to hide from his past, but she doesn’t, so it doesn’t fit. He comes from backwoods and then becomes a doctor.
In the end, I liked the book. It deals with issues such as the mentally ill and quality of life and how secrets affect relationships.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...