10.27.2007

My imaginary book club

I'm going to go ahead and call to order my imaginary book club. This month we've been reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I hope everyone had time to finish it. Go ahead and grab some cookies from the refreshment table and have a seat so we can get started.

Yep. I agree it was really different than Kite Runner. Kite Runner was told entirely from one individual's point of view. I think maybe that made it feel more personal to me. Like maybe Amir and Hassan had sat on the couch in my living room sharing goldfish crackers with my kids while the World's Most Annoying Dog jumped on them.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter was told from shifting points of view. Which I really liked because getting other people's perspective was really important. But it made it feel different. Almost like watching the characters on television. Which is okay, because, honestly, I spent a big portion of the book exceptionally intrigued with the main character.

He's a doctor. Due to a big snow storm, he ends up delivering his own children. It's the 1960s so they didn't know they were having twins. The 2nd baby is born with Down's Syndrome but his wife isn't aware she even had a second child because she's not awake at the time. The doctor decides she would be better off without that kid so he sends the baby away with a nurse and tells his wife the second baby died.

The thing that intrigued me was how that seemed like a good plan. I'm not an expert at scamming people about missing babies, but I think I'd rather not mention the second baby at all if I'm him. I mean, a baby dying is still monumentally rough. If we're looking to spare her pain, why not skip that grief too?

It was a different time and the doctor based his decision on the child potentially dying young due to complications. His own mother had lost a child and never recovered from it emotionally. He didn't want that for his wife. I think he really thought he was doing something out of love for her. And I think once he did it there was no turning back. Because the lies just compounded. Because then you're holding a funeral. And then the whole town knows and then it's a whole thing and how are you supposed to turn all of that around? If you confess the truth, everyone will hate you. Talk about digging yourself into a hole.

I had a hard time accepting the doctor's decision. It's the premise for the whole book. Looking at how that decision affects the lives of everyone involved. I think my main problem was that I felt for the mother. I can't imagine my child being on this planet and I don't even know she exists or get to see her or know her or hug her. That was the difficult part for me. But I think that's part of it. That the doctor grasps that too. And he feels the longing to tell her and the profound guilt about what he did. Except he has to try to live with it and continue a normal life. Complicated.

I liked The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Different but intriguing. Kudos to No Way for the recommendation. Since finishing it, I've even had the added pleasure of harassing my husband to confess where he sent my extra children. Good times.

Me and my imaginary book club are going to continue to make our way through the list of recommendations I previously received. I ordered them from Amazon and everything. They're sitting on my dining room table right this second. I know. I'm so on the ball. Although I haven't finished the newest 4 year old's butterfly costume and we're going to a Halloween carnival in 3 hours. Yikes.

The imaginary book club's next selection is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Michelle from I Got Two, Babe told me to read that next and I'm nothing if not highly susceptible to suggestion. See you at the next meeting! Please be on time. And bring cookies. Brownies would be good too. No nuts. See you then.

12 comments:

I know you can hear me... said...

Oh! I love to read - I totally want to join the imaginary book club!

I read the Memory Keeper's Daughter - and I thought that it was good, although I thought it could have maybe been a little shorter at the end; I got a little weary of reading it by then. But I did enjoy it for the most part.

Have you ever read anything by Jodi Picoult? She is BY FAR my favorite, so if you run out of things on your list then you should totally add on one written by her...

no way said...

Glad you liked it. I agree with the previous comment, it was a little long toward the end.

Not to add more to your "To Read" list, but I am in the middle of The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Did you read that or her other book, The Interpreter of Maladies? Can she ever craft a story....I unexpectedly found myself crying yesterday morning while reading The Namesake. She really put my day into a tailspin, but in a good way. I'd add those to the list if you ever need new books!

a happier girl said...

i know - Consider yourself a member of the imaginary book club! In fact, feel free to consider yourself vice president. Or treasurer if you prefer. We have no money so it's a pretty easy job I will add Jodi Picoult to my list.

no way - I totally don't mind adding titles to my "to read" list. I'm sure I'll run through my "to read" list pretty quick and then I'll need more suggestions anyway. Consider it added!

And I agree with both of you about Memory Keeper's Daughter getting a little long. I felt like somebody needed to just go ahead and reveal the secret and be done with it and stop dragging it on.

no way said...

PS-I realized when I followed the link to my page that I had mistakenly disabled access to the page I write on more often (the actual page called No Way.) I made it visible again...

I can't believe I was inadvertently robbing people of the daily excitement that is our lives! Thanks for alerting me!

(heh heh.) Becky

a happier girl said...

I'm glad you pointed it out! I fixed the link to your site.

Offshore Wife said...

I loved this book. I too want to join the imaginary book club. I am currently reading The Doctor's Wife by Elizabeth Brundage. It is a very good book thus far.

a happier girl said...

Consider yourself a member! Feel free to pick a title, too. You know, like president, sergeant at arms, Very Important Person With Absolutely No Duties, etc. We serve imaginary refreshments too. And everything's calorie free!

Christine said...

Oh, I am totally in for the imaginary book club. Can you also consider including The Blind Side by Michael Lewis (just finished reading it this weekend)? and eat, pray love by elizabeth gilbert? I am already sigining into B&N.com to get the next read ;) Plus, I feel the same way about the book. The doctor's decision really made me have negative feelings about him through the ENTIRE book.

a happier girl said...

Definitely. You're in and your books are on the list. Now if the books you picked suck I reserve the right to give you a really, really hard time about it and not let you have any imaginary brownies that day. Feel free to pick an imaginary job title like everyone else. I'm thinking maybe I'll be secretary and take the minutes for our meetings. And maybe imaginary refreshment table monitor.

Bart Bradshaw said...

My wife reads a lot of the same books as you. I'm just impressed by how many books a lot of people get through! One per month is really good for me.

a happier girl said...

Don't feel bad. One a month is usually my average.

Temira said...

People should read this.

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